Let’s talk about Epigenetics! The field of Epigenetics studies the different changes in organisms caused by the modification of gene expression rather than alteration in the genetic code itself. Now, you may be wondering how is this field relevant to you, your health and your everyday life style choices? Environmental factors such as your daily diet, smoking patterns and stress levels have been shown to impact gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. In other words, research studies suggest that your lifestyle habits directly impact your organism and the way your genes are expressed.
Let’s take a look at one particular study that focused on testing this idea! A recent experiment performed by BMC Physiology scientists on mice, had the purpose of determining how their immune system responded to a typical Western diet. When mice were fed a Western diet, systemic inflammation occurred which was entirely expected. However, what was particularly interesting was that the Western diet fundamentally changed their immune system. After eating a high calories, low nutrient food, not only did the mice exhibit more systemic inflammation, but their white blood cells became programmed to remain hyper-sensitive to inflammatory triggers. In other words, their diet caused a drastic change tot their cellular “memory”, making their cells more vulnerable to inflammatory responses. These results may help explain why chronic inflammation is behind so many lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Studies like this one and many others conducted recently, show significant evidence that demonstrate the impact that your environment and life style choices have on your body. They also suggest that making healthier choices lower the chances of detrimental gene expression changes.
If you’d like to learn more about ways to improve your diet or get tested for food
allergies, give Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center a call and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for you!