The Epigenome

November 28, 2012 / 2:21 pm

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a class from one of my favorite teachers, Rebecca James Gadberry. The class, titled “The Epigenome: Where the Environment and Genes Meet”, turned me on to one of the most potentially exciting discoveries in the future of anti-aging.

I remember hearing about the Human Genome Project back in the early ’00’s and reading articles like this one but it took awhile to sink in: this science has the potential to extend our lives and the lives of our children while allowing us to look better, feel better and function at a higher level than before.

Here is a video that puts the concept of Epigenetics in simple terms (side note: the scientists in the video support intelligent design versus evolution, I don’t think that’s relevant to the concept).

Simply put, the genome cells are identical and require an epigenome to direct their activity. The epigenome places tags on the DNA structure to allow or prevent certain aspects to express themselves. These tags control how one cell multiplies, when cells make or don’t make protein and the quality of this protein, when and how well the DNA damage is repaired, how quickly or slowly you age and how disease forms in the body.

Studies have shown these tags respond to positive stimulation (exercise, healthy food, meditation, massage) as well as negative stimulation (processed foods, smoking, prolonged sun exposure). Essentially, we have the power to overcome at least a portion of the map that our DNA has determined for us.

One study showed people with long term meditation practices to have 1000 inactive stress related receptors which was 50% more than the control group. After just 8 weeks of daily meditation, the control group showed an improvement of over 400 additional inactive stress receptors.

This is such a broad and fascinating topic. For years I have been telling people that good skin requires more that topical products, lifestyle plays an integral part. Now I have the science to back it up!

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