We have been talking about the influences of diet on your epigenetics and how it can affect your health and well-being. Diet is just one factor. The university of Utah says “The genome dynamically responds to the environment. Stress, diet, behavior, toxins and other factors activate chemical switches that regulate gene expression.” We have all been aware that being exposed to toxins can be bad for your health. Today let’s talk a little about stress. Our modern society puts us all in stress’ path. Our work environments are stressful. In tough financial times like these there are less in the labor force to do more work. This is very stressful. Our children can be stressful. Our marriages can be stressful. Divorce is stressful. Loosing a child in any way is stressful. Loosing a friend or family member is stressful. As we age more people we know die. This is stressful and reminds us of our mortality. Getting sick or being told we have a short time to live is very stressful. Without a doubt we all have more stress than early man and woman had.

The American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, scientists spoke of a link between epigenetics and depression. They said, significant stress can influence epigenetics. Dr. Gavin is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago-College of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he participated in the Adult Psychiatry Neuroscience Research Track. He is currently a research assistant professor at the Psychiatric Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Gavin’s research utilizes clinical and basic cellular models to uncover epigenetic abnormalities in schizophrenia. Epigenetics is the study of the environmentally modifiable and often heritable means by which genes are regulated. Examples of these mechanisms include histone modifications and DNA methylation. His current project attempts to discover whether abnormalities exist in DNA de-methylation in schizophrenia postmortem brain samples.

Stress, like diet, is a key to our health and well-being. We all need to take steps toward better diets and less stressful environments. Find a yoga class or practice meditation to lower your stress. It may extend your life. It certainly will give you a better quality of life.

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