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Epigenetics Part 2 – Nature vs. Nurture

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Stem cell diagram illustrates a human fetus st...

Stem cell diagram illustrates a human fetus stem cell and possible uses on the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part 2 on what is epigenetics. All our stem cells have exactly the same DNA but as epigenetics “expresses” certain genes they become unique and very different cell types. Like muscle, heart, skin, etc. Each stem cell becomes one type of cell in our bodies. Once it is transformed it and all its descendants remain that cell type.

Nature is our DNA and what is hard programmed into us but Nurture is that part of epigenetics that is changeable by what we eat, how we think, what we believe and how much stress we have in our lives. I use the example of a computer a lot in my BLOGs but a piano is a great example as well. The keys are our DNA (hard-wired for a sound) but the pianist “plays” the piano by hitting (expressing a key and a sound) and the order that keys are played. This gives us the infinite different types of piano music we have.

 

The Human Body is a Living Community

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Cell Biology

Cell Biology (Photo credit: ex_magician)

We are made up of more than 10 trillion living cells. That is a huge community. More than all the animals on Earth! Each cell takes in nourishment and raw materials to build things, they excrete waste, they multiply to create a new generation of cells and they make decisions about the environment they find themselves in. They also communicate with each other. These cells are living organisms by any definition. They are grouped into local communities like our skin, heart, lungs, muscles, bones, etc. The whole body is a larger community similar to cities in states in countries. Just like in our cities, when things get back the city deteriorates and can die all together. Our cells can go bad (cancer or disease) and this can proliferate to other cells and harm the local community (heart, lungs, etc) or the whole body (death). Epigenetics allows cells to work on local activities like being a heart or a ling and communicate with other cells in the community and external to it. Epigenetics allows each cell to sample its environment and make decisions on how to react. These decisions can cause us to be healthy or sick. Cells don’t choose to go bad and cause cancer, they try to react to something in the environment and that can cause cancer.

Eat well and healthy, exercise, think positive and believe in life and happiness. Lower your stress through meditation. These simple rules will make you happy, loving and healthy.

More Nutrition Links to Health or Disease

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Nutrition

Nutrition (Photo credit: The Noun Project)

Advances in nutrition says epigenetics is influenced by nutrition. These influences can affect our health or cause diseases. On Thursday I spoke of a hormone cocktail. We can think of our epigenetics as being a cocktail of nutrients that affect our genes in very complex ways. These effects can keep us healthy or make us sick.

DNA – Our Biological Computer Chip

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English: Caricature of Charles Darwin from Van...

English: Caricature of Charles Darwin from Vanity Fair magazine. Caption read “Natural Selection”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Awakening posted an article on how our DNA acts as a computer chip interacting with it’s environment including our thoughts. Dr. Vladimir Poponin, Ph.D , quantum biologist, says that there are levels of structure within our DNA that control the operation of our genetic blueprint. Dr Bruce Lipton says evolution is driven by consciousness. Charles Darwin said, “The greatest error which I have committed has been in not allowing sufficient weight to the direct action of the Environments. Charles Darwin”. We are clearly influenced by our environment. Life is not an abstract concept but a development under the influence of an environment. Take our same life elsewhere with a very different environment and it will develop differently.

What are we saying to our children and are they listening?

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Nutrigenomics flow chart: research, Food, Gene...

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

An article titled, “Why You Need to Know About Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics” by Russ Curran discusses how epigenetics works and why it is important to all of us. He says “If I choose to eat unhealthy it only affects me, Right?” The answer is WRONG! We pass not only our DNA to our children but some of our epigenetics. You can look at it as our DNA is already marked with life changing triggers. The good news is we can alter these epigenetic triggers by changing our diet, stress levels, exercise and how we think. What messages are you passing on to your children? Are they listening?

The Source of the Problem

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Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer, diet and...

Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer, diet and genetics together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Epigenetics has been found as a causative factor in cancer, genetic disorders and pediatric syndromes as well as contributing factors in autoimmune diseases and aging. Just about every disease has links back to epigenetics. This makes sense if we look at epigenetics as our programming language sitting between our DNA (Machine Code) and our environment (data). As our environment changes so does our bodies reaction to it. In physics we have actions and reactions. Our bodies react to changes in the environment. Some of these reactions are not healthy to us as an individual. My feeling is we should be trying to understand more about what in our environment causes negative reactions in our bodies. Nutrigenomics is trying to do just that for diet. Most of the scientific world seems to be looking at how epigenetics can help build new drugs. This makes lots of money but doesn’t cure anything. It also doesn’t really help anyone. Just look at anyone with a critical disease. They are on plenty of drugs, have lots of medical procedures and are never really cured of their ailment. The quality of their life is low! If we could use our expertise to find the source of our problems and then avoid them, we would be healthier and happier. What do you think?

What Happens if Our Cells only Hear Positive Stimuli?

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Cell Biology

Cell Biology (Photo credit: ex_magician)

Dr Lipton, [See his videos on thios topic: Video #1 Video #2] says He has taken sick cells out of a human body and placed them into a Petri Dish. The dish has nutrients and the cells grow and are healthy. What changed? The environmental stimuli went from negative to positive. Dr Lipton says the brain of our cells is not the nucleus or our genes but our beliefs. Our beliefs filter our perceptions and cause every cell to react. These reactions can cause us to be negative and become protective (fight flight system) or in growth mode and healthy.

Why do Smart Cells Produce such Dumb Creatures?

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picture of complex cells

picture of complex cells (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our cells started out as single cell organisms billions of years ago. They got smarter as they evolved into more complex organisms. They learned that grouping together helped their chances of survival. As they grouped into multi-cell creatures, they got more complex. They need to assign different tasks to different cells. Evolution continued creating bigger and more complex creatures up through humans. Our cells communicate with each other, some are blood cells, others muscle and still others skin cells. The complex task of keeping us alive is divided among many different types of cells. How could such smart cells create such dumb humans? We know smoking is cancers but we still smoke. We know eating healthy will make us healthy but we still eat junk. We know that living in peace is a better way of life for all but we still age war. We are not the simple sum of our parts.

SHHH, Our Cells are Trying to Talk

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Stem cell diagram illustrates a human fetus st...

Image via Wikipedia

The University of Utah has an excellent description of how our cells communicate both within and between each other. This communication starts with a stem cell and causes each cell to modify itself into a type of cell (e.g. blood, skin, liver, heart). Once a cell becomes a type like our nervous system all later communication and changes are within the constraints of those already made. Nervous system cells don’t communicate like blood cells. Our heart cells don’t suddenly become a cuticle cell and start growing fingernails. These epigenetic switches become permanent and influence the remaining life of the cell and its ancestors. Other epigenetic chatter changes a cell dynamically and can be adjusted to react to environmental changes. Hormones get released by one part of the body and can influence cells in another part. This chatter makes us who we are. It causes us first to be mammals, then humans, and then a unique individual.

The Power to Correct Our Bodies Ailments

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Fingernails

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Do we have the power to correct damages done by illnesses? We know the body can grow new arteries and bypass clogged ones. Can we correct any damage? Most scientists would say no! If we lose an arm or leg it won’t grow back. At least we have never experienced that happening. Our genes had the power to create us from one cell. They built our arms and legs once. It was probably an epigenetic trigger that caused our genes to start growing arms and legs. Why couldn’t that be re-triggered? There are really bad things that can be triggered by epigenetics as well. Imagine a heart cell growing a finger nail. Cuticle cells can. Each cell has the same genes. The difference between a heart cell and a cuticle cell is epigenetic triggers. If we somehow triggered the correct genes in a heart cell, it would start to grow nails. Epigenetics is programming and as such is dangerous to the uneducated. Until we fully understand the epigenetic programming language, we will only be stabbing in the dark. Our bodies have the power to do anything to survive. We have genes, epigenetics and neural nets that make us human. We are only messengers on a journey into the future. What is important is the end result not the individual messengers. Our job as humans is a step in the cog of life. Where it takes us and what we will become in the distant future is anyone’s guess but the potentials are all programmed in our genes and epigenes.

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