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A Primer on Epigenetics – Part 1

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Cover of Not in our Genes.

Cover of Not in our Genes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A funny but scientific video on what epigenetics is.  If you are a reader of my BLOG you know what epigenetics is and how it affects our genes and our lives & health. What Makes us who we are? – We are not determined by our genes but by how our epigenes work on our genes. The question of who we are is really which genes have we turned ON or OFF during our lives. Some of these switches are great and necessary for life but some are due to changes in our external (environment) life like diet, belief, thinking and stress.

If you are someone that thinks bad things will happen to you, they probably will. If you also believe you will get sick, live a stressful life and eat wrong, you will have a very high probability of being ill. If on the other hand you are a vegan, have little or no stress, are a positive believer and believe you will not get sick, you probably will live a healthy life.

 

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The Amazing Human Computer

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Epigenetics

Epigenetics (Photo credit: AJC1)

Our bodies and our DNA is very much like a modern computer. I have said on this BLOG before that our DNA is like the instruction set of a computer (the hardware) and our epigenetics is like the software. Epigenetics “Plays” DNA to accomplish things more sophisticated than the DNA itself. Computer software “Plays” the hardware to accomplish things more sophisticated than the hardware. The analogy goes even farther. Computers using both software and hardware do interesting and useful things but can not do much without influence from its environment (data). A banking program needs a database to get at customer information, to change account balances, etc. It also has a user interface that lets a human control it. These external influences cause it to execute a series of tasks that become useful to us or a company.

The bodies DNA and epigenetics is similar. On its own it doesn’t do much but under the influences of its environment (data) it can do unbelievable things. Our environment is our food (nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fat), our positive or negative thinking (placebo or nocebo) and our belief’s (What we truly believe can happen). These external influences are data input to our cells. The cells then turn genes (DNA strings) ON or OFF via epigenetics. THis causes the cell to do what it needs to do (make another cell, produce more blood, create hormones, etc.). It also allows cells to communicate within themselves as well as to other cells in our body. This network and the programming is very sophisticated. Stress also affects our epigenetics. Living a stress free life is difficult in modern times but is important to health and happiness.

It is the sophistication that makes us different from the chimps. They have almost the same DNA as us but much different epigenetics. The programming makes the animal! Just like a simple program that adds two numbers uses the same instruction set (DNA) as a sophisticated video program but they produce very different results.

We are what we eat, how we think, what we believe and how much stress we have in our lives! Living this way produces a human that is happy and healthy. Living the opposite way produces one that is unhappy and sick.  Your choice!

 

Still Not Convinced Diet is Important?

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Examples of high-protein foods are tofu, dairy...

Examples of high-protein foods are tofu, dairy products, fish, and meat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are still eating whatever you want and thinking it won’t affect me! Think again. America is a nation of sick people. More so than anywhere else. Our diets are the poorest in the world. We are told we have great diets because we have food rich in protein (animal protein). Protein is a toxin to the body. Our bodies need some protein but too much causes problems. People eating a diet rich in animal protein (meat, eggs, milk and cheese) with little or no plant protein will get sick. I have posted many videos on this BLOG from top scientists talking about this problem. Watch these videos at this link! Make a change, any change. Even if you can’t give up meat altogether, cut back on it and eat more fresh organic vegetables. Do NOT think that white meat is safe. The so called “White Meat” is about 80% of the fat of red meat and has the same problems in our bodies. Pork is NOT white meat, it is red meat!

STOP, READ, INVESTIGATE and CHANGE – Your life depends on it!

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Cover of "The China Study: The Most Compr...

Cover via Amazon

When smoking was such a problem, we educated people on the bad effects of smoking. After massive education, people stopped smoking and health improved. unfortunately the young are back to smoking. We need the same type of massive education about diet and it’s impact on our health. For me it started with:

  1. The China Study by T. Colin CampbellThe ChinaStudy.com
  2. The Spectrum by Dean Ornish (Clinton’s White House dietician) – www.ornishspectrum.com
  3. The Biology of belief by Bruce Lipton – www.brucelipton.com
  4. Randy Jirtle, Duke University – www.randyjirtle.com/
  5. Food as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD – www.drdharma.com
  6. Dr Greger, MD – www.drgreger.org

The facts on diet and what we eat is out there and be studied. You may not want to hear about cutting back on animal products but it may save your life and your loved ones. One thing is for sure, if we keep going the way we have been eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) diet, we will end up with a chronic disease, in a hospital and a burden to our loved ones. STOP, READ the above sites, INVESTIGATE what’s out there, and CHANGE your lifestyle today!

Dark Lightning in the Skies

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Lightning

Lightning (Photo credit: cody_7147)

Scientists have discovered a new phenomena called “Dark Lightning”. It can cause doses of radiation to hit us on airlines. This radiation contains large numbers of Gamma Rays but scientists say they don’t appear to be dangerous. I question that and wonder what epigenetic changes may be taking place because of this radiation. Are these changes potentially good for us or bad?  Our environment has many things that affect our epigenetics. We don’t understand if these affects are good or bad until we better understand epigenetics.

How programmed are we?

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From left to right, the structures of A-, B- a...

From left to right, the structures of A-, B- and Z-DNA. The structure a DNA molecule depends on its environment. In aqueous enviromnents, including the majority of DNA in a cell, B-DNA is the most common structure. The A-DNA structure is dominates in dehydrated samples and is similar to the double-stranded RNA and DNA/RNA hybrids. Z-DNA is a rarer structure found in DNA bound to certain proteins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are very programmed. In other BLOGs we have looked at mammals as having very similar DNA. So what makes us so different? The answer is epigenetics. It programs that common DNA in different ways to produce a dog, cow or human. When we are conceived, we know we get half our DNA from our mother and the other half from our father. We also get so epigenetic markers. These common from parents and their parents. They help the newborn adapt quicker to our environment. What our parents and grandparents learned from the environment (epigenetics) can also be passed down to the new-born.

Most of our epigenetic markers are wiped out but some get through. This is similar to loading a new operating system onto your computer. The instructions (DNA) are set but the programming loads pieces of the system until the system is able to run on its own. We know stem cells are assigned (via epigenetics) to become one type of cell (heart, liver, bone, brain, etc.). They then grow and multiply into the various organs and bones that make up our body. This again is similar to a computer boot strapping it’s self up. From the conceived stage to a small baby, our cells grow very rapidly. This may be similar to cancer. It gets turned off at some point and we continue to grow at a normal rate.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as programmed machines but really are. That doesn’t take away from concepts of souls, spiritual side or a God. It just means our bodies are pre-programmed to react in certain ways to certain stimuli. What are these stimuli? They include many things but among them are: diet, stress, thinking, and belief. How are you programming your body.

Nutrigenomics

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English: Nutrigenomics flow chart: research, F...

English: Nutrigenomics flow chart: research, Food, Genetics= nutrigenomics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We haven’t spoken about nutrigenomics in a while. What is it? Diet.com says it’s the relationship (study) between dietary factors and our genes. Epigenetics is the study of how the environment affects our genes through techniques such as methylation. These influences turn ON or OFF genes. This can improve our lives or cause illnesses. Nutrigenomics is a classification of what dietary environmental changes effects which genes. Knowing this we can start to predict which foods will cure illness or cause it.

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