Whole Body Nutrition Blog
The Science of Becoming Super Human
So, what is an Epigenetic Interpretation anyway?
What is an Epigenetic Interpretation and how can it benefit me?
This is one of my most asked questions that I get all of the time through my website. So, today I am going to break down for you what Epigenetics are and what an Epigenetic Interpretation is and how Epigenetics changed my life.
Epigenetics assist us in understanding the way in which our environmental cues impact not only our genes but also the genes of our prospective descendants. This powerful science validates that it is no longer a question about nature vs nurture, rather it is the dynamic interaction between the two that creates the outcome. With Epigenetics, we can take the reins to strategically influence optimal gene expression through healthy lifestyle choices to make genetic predispositions virtually irrelevant as we adapt and thrive under modern environmental pressures.
Genetics are listed as base pairs in the form of letters- A, T, C, G. We each get one letter from mom and one from dad to give each of us our very own unique genetics. These letters pair up (one from mom and one from dad) on the DNA strand to provide you with your genetic code. We are all 99% the same based on our DNA. The differences live in Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs. The differences in the SNPs are called Variants and are not mutations. When working with a client’s Epigenetics, I do not look for the mutations, rather, I look for the risk of certain probabilities that put them at risk for a low absorption of Nutrients, Specific Vitamins (which can be helpful or harmful), and how to hack your biology to become the best version of yourself. Risk in this context is saying that based on the population, you have a higher “risk of”, it is not necessarily saying that you have a specific disease or condition.
You see, Variants have emerged over time as a protection from our ancestors. One Variant, in particular, may be Sickle Cell Anemia. It significantly decreases the risk of people contracting Malaria. One example of how adapting to the environment can help is if you lived in an area of the world in which Malaria was rampant; you would like to have this variant. It is not as much desirable when you want to do higher levels of exercise and your blood cells are not capable of carrying enough Oxygen. So, when we speak of our ancestors, having this Variant helped people survive Malaria outbreaks. However, most variants are affected by lifestyle and environment and thus, can be changed for better or for worse. This is why the risk is addressed in the interpretation for my clients.
I am not a Geneticist and I am not a Medical Doctor and thus, cannot diagnose. However, I can give recommendations to my clients to help them with their overall health and wellness. Insights, we will call them and this is how it works; health problems arise in our lives when we live differently than our genes have become adapted for. Knowing what knowledge lies within our genetics can help us to live a fuller life and achieve the lifestyle goals that could have been slowing us down.
The letters (A, T, C, G) are called Alleles.
Two letters are called a “Base Pair” or a Nucleotide Pair.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs are the code pairs for an individual.
Homozygous is the term we use when both base pairs are the same.
Heterozygous is the term we use when these base pairs are different.
Genotype covers the whole genetic makeup of an individual.
Phenotype is the expression of the Genotype as it relates to the environment and makes us susceptible to certain risks of diseases or conditions.
I ran my own Genetics about 8 years ago before a lot of information was known about Epigenetics. These were my biggest take-a-ways:
- I have a moderate risk for Celiac Disease.
- I am a APOE ¾- which give me a higher than normal risk of having CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) and Alzheimer’s.
- I have blood clotting issues.
- I have a higher risk of developing eye issues like a detached Retina.
- I am Homozygous for both MTHFR variants (C677T & A1298C).
- My body needs extra vitamin C, Choline, and Magnesium.
- I need to regulate my intake of Vitamin E, Folate, and Vitamin K.
- I have an elevated risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
- I have a hard time telling if I am full after eating (Leptin vs. Ghrelin).
- MSG is definitely not my friend.
- Once I start eating sweets, it is hard for me to stop!
- I need more sleep than the average person, and sleep hygiene is very important for me in getting adequate sleep quantity and quality.
So, what does it all mean and more importantly, how did I “fix” myself?
Personally, I always feel that I am a work in progress – as most of us do (and actually are). Being in a constant state of change is the root of all life, no matter on what scale these changes are occurring. As it is, my stress levels are constantly changing. I battle hormones as I get older, and time gets away from me before I realize I have not exercised enough in any given week. I feel it is definitely important to express that we are all human and we can do nothing wrong – but still not be doing things right. At any rate, these are some of the changes which I have integrated into my life:
- I am aware to avoid Gluten foods and do not eat MSG if at all possible.
- I am aware of and watch my Saturated Fat’s intake, make a point to keep my stress under control, exercise weekly and keep my blood sugar balanced by not consuming lots of sugar or processed foods. I definitely eliminate as much sugar as possible when possible and I reduce the amount of red meat consumption to only once or twice a week.
- I try to get 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and also add olive oil and nuts as much as possible for healthy fat intake as well as fresh fish when available.
- I eat just enough greens to support methylation and liver detox but not too much to thicken my blood.
- I use high-quality fish oil and I eat foods which support eye health, as well as get eye exams regularly.
- I take high-quality Methylated Vitamins, extra Vitamin C, Choline, and Magnesium.
- I am aware to not consume foods rich in high amounts of Vitamin E, Folate, and Vitamin K.
- I try to get enough quality sleep by having a regular bedtime routine.
I am not saying that I am perfect and that I never eat processed foods or sugar, but I know my limits. I want to live a long life of health and vitality and be present for the ones that I love. Understanding my Genetics has allowed me to change my lifestyle to support health and vitality and be more aware of otherwise unhealthy triggers. I do occasionally eat desserts and have I’ll a beer or alcoholic drink occasionally. But, I do use supplements to give my body the extra support it needs to help detoxify from these and to further address what nutrients that I may be deficient in regards to my own genetic make-up. This is where knowledge and self-awareness become our superpower. Let me be clear, what I am not saying is that I rely on supplementation in order to gorge myself on alcohol, processed foods, and sugar. This would be counter-productive and irresponsible. It is important though, that we still have a life and not feel constrained by our weaknesses. Being aware of the idea that we are in control of our own health and vitality and knowing what it is that we need in order to live a life rich of joy and fulfillment is liberating.
With all the changes that I have made, I feel better than I ever have in my life. I feel and look younger, I have clarity and vigor for life. When I tell people how old I am, they are always shocked. I do not say this to brag (well maybe a little) but to say to you that it is possible to feel good again and live the life that keeps you awake night – it is in your grasp. It is absolutely possible to not hurt every morning. To clear the fog. It is totally possible to have crazy amounts of energy. I am here to tell you that it is entirely possible to have the life you dream of. With Epigenetics and a little support, you can free yourself of the chains which bind you. Don’t give up on you, I certainly won’t!
Consultations are always FREE. If you are interested in personalized Nutritional and or Epigenetics Coaching or if you have questions regarding your health and how it may be affecting your life goals please feel free to reach out to me by filling out the contact form below. It’s time to stop suffering and to start thriving!
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