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Friday, September 30, 2016

DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY

The premise that genes control life is known as biology's Central Dogma. But what is coming into clearer light is that in order for genes to be activated something in the environment must act as a trigger. Epigenetics is the study of the molecular mechanisms by which environment controls gene activity, and today it is one of the most prolific areas of scientific inquiry. The answer is not some quick fix prescription drug. Remember, every time a drug enters the body to correct one function, it invariably throws off several other necessary functions. A phenomenon all too familiar to anyone who has experienced side effects from a drug. For example, anti-histamines used to treat allergies also act on the brain to produce drowsiness, a side-effect that is either celebrated or deplored depending on the occasion. There is a time to doze, AND IT IS NOT WHILE READING THIS POST! That we are more than just our DNA is evidenced by the fact that our chromosomes or set of inheritable traits are composed not just of a mixture of nucleic acids (DNA) but also, and perhaps more importantly, of proteins. 

The proteins surrounding the DNA regulate our genes' expression. And they do so in response to the environment of our cells. When we provide a healthy environment, by eating fresh whole foods, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and thinking happy thoughts, the body responds, our health improves, as does the health of our children. The opposite is true. Stress out, fill yourself with toxins, and spend your day on your backside with excessive exposure to the electromagnetic radiation emanating from your cellular phone, and your derrier in addition possibly to tumorous growths, is likely to expand. Your baby's booty too.

Even Charles Darwin, who fathered the Central Dogma by according almost exclusive control of our evolution to our genes, lamented in his later years that he had neglected the direct action of the environment - food, climate, and other factors - that work independently of natural selection. And this makes intuitive sense. As Bruce Lipton notes in his book The Biology of Belief, "genes cannot preprogram a cell or organism's life because survival depends on the ability to dynamically adjust to an ever-changing environment."

While it is true that some diseases like cystic fibrosis and certain neurological disorders can be blamed entirely on one faulty gene, these single-gene diseases affect less than 2 percent of the population. Today's scourges - diabetes, cancer, heart disease - are not the result of a single gene but of the interaction between several genes and environmental factors. And only about 5 percent of cancer and cardiovascular patients can attribute their diseases to heredity. There has been much talk about the BRCA mutations and breast cancer, but it must be stressed that ninety-five percent of breast cancers are NOT due to inherited genes, and of those with the BRCA mutation, only about half actually get cancer.

Humans and rodents have about the same number of genes, and we are certainly more complex than rats. So what accounts for the greater complexity? The extra proteins that govern the expression of our DNA. Humans can survive with far fewer genes than scientists once believed because the same gene products, which are proteins, can be used for a variety of functions, similar to the same letters of the alphabet making many different words. Like Meal and Lame. Personally I prefer the former. Five of them a day, mostly fruits and vegetables. Anything less and I feel lame, meaning I haven't the energy to run.

Which is why the Central Dogma has been revised to include Environment and Regulatory Proteins at the top before DNA and RNA and Protein, and the influence is not one way but a reciprocal interaction at every level.


So if environmental factors such as nutrition, stress and emotions influence genes by governing epigenetic changes, and methylation reactions are involved in epigenetic changes, then eating a diet rich in foods with methyl groups (B12, folic acid, choline and betaine) would seem to drive genetic expression in the direction of favorable traits. Such as weight loss in lab animals. I'm serious! Which is probably why I'm loving egg yolks these days. It's an excellent source of choline. But more than anything, biological behavior can be controlled by invisible forces. Not just EM radiation but thought, which can be as effective as medicine in curing disease, and without the side effects. Pharmaceutical-free energy medicine is a real thing and gaining momentum. "Control of our lives is not in the genetic roll of the dice at conception but in our own hands," writes Lipton. Or in our own minds. And the mind, according to latest research, is located not in the brain but is distributed via signaling molecules over the entire body. You are a walking, talking, thinking, feeling brain. And your thoughts have sweeping ramifications the importance of which is only beginning to be fully understood. 

Take home message: you are what you think, so think happy thoughts. That is, if you choose to think at all. I prefer to make like a tree and BE.



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