Epigenetics: You cannot change your genes but you can change their expression 

It was once thought that are our genes were our destiny. Our inherited genes would lay out a path from which our destiny and thus longevity would be pre – determined. Fast forward to today and the growing body of scientific evidence to challenge this belief. 

In fact, our inherited genes only play a smart part of our health and how we age. More importantly, we now know it’s more impacted by how these genes are expressed – how they are turned on or off and how they can be altered that defines this expression. In fact, thanks to functional medicine research it could be said: ” When you change the way you look at things, the things you are looking at change.” 

Thanks to genetic testing – and not all testing is the same in its explanation of the data – we are getting a better handle on how we can alter our health and wellness variables by understanding not only the genes we have but how we can alter their expression and thus prevent or at least slow down their impact on our longevity and quality of life. Combining genetic testing with the identification of specific inflammatory bio -markers we can now better pinpoint the triggers that are pulling on the chains that eventually determine the expression of these genes. 

What are the most common environmental triggers that are pulling on the chain? These help us understand what takes us from wellness to illness and eventually accelerating the aging process. 

The following can trigger leaky gut, brain, lungs etc by breaking down barriers or walls and  entering the bloodstream and triggering an autoimmune response and inflammation.

1. Food Toxins: processed foods, trans fats, GMO’s, wheat ( gluten), non-organic and conventional dairy ( casein) and meats, refined sugars.

2. Air  and water pollutants 

3. Metal and industrial chemical toxins- found in water, paints, furniture and cleaning and health care products. 

4. Pesticides and herbicides

5. Plastics 

Genetic Testing: Not all testing is the same and can leave you with only partial answers. 

Best in class is inDNA Life Sciences. They can personalise disease management with DNA based solutions.

It’s an opportunity to be proactive especially if you have a significant family history of degenerative disease. It can empower you to change if you know you have a weak link and give you the tools to good good stop the pulling action on the chain. You can also learn which bio markers give you valuable information. As one researchers puts it:     “Knowing your genetic profile and the bio markers that measure how these genes are expressed allows you to monitor the temperature gauge before you get a hot light.” This also allows you to be proactive and change any possible disease outcome or at least minimise its impact by addressing the weakest link 

Weak Links: 

1. Methylation process ( how we break down toxins ). If this is compromised a variety of systems can be affected leading to inflammation and elevated auto immune issues. You would then check the biomarkers associated with methylation. 

2. Glutathione – a master antioxidant essential to detoxifying the body and lending support to our immune system. Oxidative stress and free radicals can create cell disintegration when glutathione is low. Your body produces its own but becomes vastly reduced with age and exposure to food, chemical and metal toxins, pollution and stress. 

You can boost glutathione: 

–  By consuming sulfur rich foods ( garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower etc)

– Consume bioactive whey protein 

– Regular exercise boosts glutathione 

–   N-acetyl-cysteine and Alpha lipoic acid

– Take methylation boosting nutrients (folate, vitamins B6 and 12)

– Selenium 

– Milk thistle 

– Vitamin C and E 

Look for glutathione production and utilization. If this a weak link – address it by pinpointing the bio marker and fix the weak link !

Ketogenic Nutrition:

Nutritional Ketosis is a state of health in which your body efficiently burns fat as its primary fuel source instead of glucose. Research shows that it may be a crucial link in combating obesity, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, ALS, autism, traumatic brain injury to name a few. This approach helps in managing insulin and leptin resistance. Ketones also spare branched chain amino acids ( BCAAs) helping to maintain and build muscle and increase cardiac mitochondrial biogenesis ( creation of new mitochondria).

Nutritional Ketosis also aids in gene stability, expression and signaling. For example, it can turn on the apoptotic gene that helps combat and destroy cancer cells. By reducing sugars , grains and dairy which trigger inflammation and increase coconut oil, microbiome friendly foods like curcumim, rosemary, garlic, ginger, green tea you can elevate your ketosis conditions. These foods also turn on butyric acid (found in butter or ghee) which aids in bacterial diversity. 

Ketosis is positive for epigenetics. It helps upregulate mitochondrial biogenesis and activity. This is crucial for a cellular activity and function. 

Intermittent Fasting

In addition to a ketogenic diet, research also indicates that intermittent fasting (calorie restriction) can in fact slow down the cellular aging process This actually helps upregulate mitochondrial biogenesis and density and anti-inflammatory activity and directly on the epigenetic process. It also helps in controlling insulin resistance which we know has profound health implications. Intermittent fasting is best accomplished gradually where you shorten the window when you eat. You start off by fasting for 12 hours then build up to 16-18 hours. It’s important to be consistent with your feeding and fasting window. 

This is also helps to control insulin resistance and reset metabolic pathways. Additionally, it’s been shown to help reset circadian rthyms and biological clock genes. An eat early and sleep early approach seems to have a powerful epigegtic effect on aging and longevity!
Best Diet: Combine a microbiome friendly diet with a ketogenic diet. What’s this look like?

– High in fiber ( cruciferous vegetables)

– Phytonutrient dense ( lots of color)

– Eggs, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, green tea, onion, garlic, ginger, curcumin.

– Non GMO grains

– Minimze animal fats ( which contain inflammatory endotoxins) which can elevate or exacerbate insulin resistance. If you are going to eat animal sources make sure it’s pasture fed and organic certified. 

Bottom Line:

Ketosis is very effective at helping with positive DNA expression and gene signaling. It helps in down regulating inflammatory issues and pathways, effective in balancing brain neurochemistry and reducing inflammation ( down regulate glutamine and up regulate GABA). Ketones can Down regulate the genes that are responsible for anxiety, depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s to name a few.