What does it mean?
As a farmer’s daughter, the best way for me to provide a depiction of the concept of epigenetics is through a garden metaphor:
Seed Germination Plant Garden
Sun and water -
*These environmental factors influence whether the seed is germinated, how tall the plant grows, and whether or not the garden is complete.
Gene Expressed Protein Human Body
Nutrition, Exercise and the Environment -
*Just like the sun and water for the garden, exercise habits, nutritional intake, and other environmental factors can influence your genes and therefore have an impact on who you are!
Many people wonder: “Can my genetics override the healthy practices that I implement within my life?” In other words, are the cards that I am dealt at birth my hand for life? The answer can be NO!
This is where understanding your genes can be used to determine predispositions such as: vitamin deficiencies, high cholesterol, or low fat metabolism. In knowing your DNA you can bolster your lifestyle practices to overcome many unwelcome propensities.
To further complicate the story, environmental influences like: what you consume, what you are exposed to, or how old you are, factor in to your genetics and therefore your physiological capabilities.
Welcome to the arena of “epigenetics”, where the environment has the ability to influence your DNA. This idea should be approached with fascination and not fear. Epigenetics can create powerful effects within our bodies, but when understood and addressed, can be entirely reversed.