by Dr. Ben Lerner
While DNA sequencing may remain stable, the way genes work or “gene expression” is heavily impacted by your environment and your decisions (what you eat and how you live).
Environmental factors such as food, drugs, or exposure to toxins can cause epigenetic changes by altering the way molecules bind to DNA or changing the structure of proteins that DNA wraps around. These structural changes can result in slight changes in gene activity; they also can produce more dramatic changes by switching genes on when they should be off or vice versa.
A study was performed to understand the connection between the February weddings in China, performed during the Chinese New Year, and the birth defects in the babies born 9 months later. The connection was determined to be the lack of availability of vegetables and greens during winter in the region.
When individuals have insufficient levels of certain vitamins, their methylation systems aren’t working properly. The results can be a number of bothersome or very serious health conditions. What has fascinated geneticists is that the methylation defect in the DNA is passed on to proceeding generations by the parents.
As the ability to methylate is so closely tied to lifestyle decisions, the fact of the matter is; the choices of parents can literally effect the health and wellbeing of their great-great-great grandchildren.
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