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Epigenetics and Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Disease

Epigenetics and Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Disease

Ever since researchers mastered the human genome some 15 years ago, the importance of genetics in relation to some certain diseases and disorders have been greatly emphasized. However, evidence from researchers has proved how environmental factors and lifestyle can affect the mechanisms of epigenetics. Epigenetic mechanisms are flexible parameters that can change the genetic information under the influence of some external factors. It activates the state of the activity of genes from one generation of cells to the next generation. More so, recent studies have proven that alteration in epigenetics can lead to the development of some health problems such as cancer, depression, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, neurodegenerative and respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, our lifestyle can at times affect our genes either positively or negatively. Smoking is a familiar example of how our behavior can affect our genes. Everyone knows that smoking usually results into poor health. But how do we relate smoking with our body's health molecularly? In this case, the carcinogens in cigarette directly affect the molecules in our bodies causing the mutation of our anti-cancer genes which triggers the growth of cancer in the body. Interestingly, environmental and lifestyle factors also play a significant role in our genetic makeup. For instance, what we eat, how often and the kind of exercise we engage, environmental conditions that you are exposed to, all to an extent affect our genetic makeup. The term lifestyle is generally used to describe the typical way of life of living characteristic individuals or group. This concept includes numerous factors such as diet, behavior, stress, physical activity, working habits, smoking and alcohol consumption.  

Below are some highlighted lifestyle modifications you can adopt to prevent diseases caused as a result of epigenetics;

  1. Foods and Proper Nutrition
Everything we need to remain healthy is present in nature. Medical research has known this for thousands of years and the research has not stopped. There are numerous studies around that have shown nutrition and clean eating as a good means of modifying epigenetic mechanisms.
  1. Selenium
Selenium can epigenetically modulate DNA and histones to activate the genes that are silenced through meditation. Selenium plays a key role in the metabolism process and as well has antioxidant properties. The antioxidants in selenium protects cells from being damaged. Increasing data suggests that selenium supplements may contain anticarcinogenic properties. Selenium is found in brazil nuts
  1. Exercise and Health
The importance of exercise for health has been well established. It is strongly linked to a variety of health benefits from heart and vascular health, to warding off Alzheimer's, to extending lifespan. But now researchers are beginning to show to some extent that exercise may play some role in the expression of our genes. We know that exercise lowers risk for chronic diseases and helps maintain energy balance for weight management. Recent studies have linked exercise to methylation of specific genes related to risk factors for chronic disease. For example, exercise has been associated with methylation of genes responsible for the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are the leading cause of chronic inflammation. Cancer can be reduced by blocking the pro-inflammatory genes.
  1. Folate and Vitamin B12 Intake
Folic acid and Vitamin B12 play a key role in DNA metabolism and are required for the synthesis of methionine and S-adenosyl methionine (SAM), the common methyl donor required for the maintenance of methylation patterns in DNA  

Final Thoughts

Apparently, we cannot change our DNA but we can always change and control our lifestyle. These changes are capable of causing changes to that which affects us genetically. Obviously, we all know that exercise is essential for our health, but now we know it might even extend beyond just health benefits. Research is still ongoing in the field of epigenetics and hopefully we get to have information about it soon. Scientists are at the beginning when it comes to understanding genetics and lifestyle. However, it seems that the more we nurture the essence of lifestyle, the more we seem to discover its importance in determining the characteristics of an individual. Lastly, lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise, have a deeper role in health and fitness and may probably offer even more benefits to the cells.