(NaturalHealth365) In order to see real change in our health, we need to break away from unhealthy lifestyle habits – which include poor nutrition and destructive thinking patterns – that have led 117 million Americans down the road toward chronic disease. But in order to do that, we need the right information – especially when it comes to understanding epigenetics.
Keep in mind, in this day and age, it is not enough to just tell yourself to “eat your vegetables” or “calm down.” In truth, most of us will need to dig a little deeper; form at least a basic understanding of how our bodies work; and appreciate the concept of epigenetics, in order to live life disease-free.
Substances called “proto-oncogenes” actually help healthy cells to grow. But when proto-oncogenes mutate, they can become permanently activated, activated when they are not supposed to or self-replicate in excess. When this happens, proto-oncogenes become oncogenes, the “bad” genes that can lead to cancer.
Tumor-suppressing genes, on the other hand, slow down cell division. They also repair mistakes in DNA and activate apoptosis, or programmed cell death. When tumor suppressor genes are not working properly, this causes cells to grow out of control – which can also lead to cancer.
Oncogenes are like a gas pedal that is stuck all the way down. The car accelerates with no stop in site, the same way oncogenes will continue to replicate endlessly to eventually form a tumor. Tumor suppressor genes are like the brake pedal of that same car. When the brake is not working, the car will continue accelerate. Oncogenes cause cancer when they are “turned on.” Tumor suppressor genes contribute to cancer when they are “turned off.”
Genes of all types express themselves through proteins. Proteins are the “worker bees” of cells and are used for a wide range of functions in the body. Some proteins are used to form hair or muscles, for example. Others help carry oxygen or work with the immune system tofight infections.
If the production of proteins from genetic material is altered in any way, it will affect how the body functions, which can lead to disease. Certain cancers have been linked to abnormalities in the way tumor-suppressing genes in particular are converted to proteins. For example, breast, prostate, kidney, uterine, colon, brain, skin and thyroid cancer have all been found in various studies to be linked to abnormal functioning of the PTEN tumor suppressing gene and PTEN proteins.
Abnormalities for the TP53 gene (which “codes” for the p53 protein) has been found in more than half of all human cancers.
There is no doubt that your DNA plays a central role in the development of cancer, as well as other diseases. But exactly how do genetic mutations occur and, more importantly, how can they be reversed?
When the field of epigenetics emerged on the scientific scene – over twenty years ago – it fundamentally changed the way we thought of how genes express themselves. While gene codes themselves may not change throughout a person’s life (so the popular thinking goes), the way those genes are expressed can change dramatically. With the exception of some rare genetic diseases and conditions, gene expression of all kinds are greatly tied to input from the external environment.
The epigenetics of cancer in particular has become accepted even within the halls of conventional medicine. According to Cancer.gov:
“Inherited abnormalities of tumor suppressor genes have been found in some family cancer syndromes. They cause certain types of cancer to run in families. But most tumor suppressor gene mutations are acquired, not inherited.”
External factors that can directly affect gene expression can be anything from the foods we eat to exposure to environmental pollutants to the thoughts we think – which can trigger stress responses (or healing responses) in the body.
A recent study conducted by Cambridge University found that gene-protein influence is a two-way street.
The study investigated influences on metabolism by studying yeast. They found that while genes can affect the way the body metabolizes nutrients, nutrients can also affect the way genes behave. According to the research, what we eat altars how proteins are produced in “almost every gene in our body.”
“…in many cases the effects were so strong, that changing a cell’s metabolic profile could make some of its genes behave in a completely different manner,” said Dr. Markus Ralser, a biochemist at Cambridge who led the research.
These findings, which were published in February 2016 edition of the journal Nature Microbiology, are significant because they broaden the extent to which everything we put in our mouth (and on our skin) affects us on the most fundamental level.
The “nature vs. nurture” debate still continues today, even though science has already discovered dozens of natural substances that have the ability to turn on tumor suppressive genes in particular. The most well-known is sulforaphane found in broccoli sprouts.
However, in my opinion it is inevitable that eventually the epigenetic model for disease creation will be “a given.” Until that day arrives, YOU can become empowered by learning how you can eat and live to literally affect your DNA for a more vibrant, health body and life.
About the author: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and specialist in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe. To get your F.R.E.E. 7-day mini e-course and to receive her weekly inspiring articles on the power of natural medicine – visit: BreastCancerConqueror.com
Don't forget to take your sulfur (MSM). An essential element in almost all amino acids and proteins.