Epigenetics is the study of inherited changes in the genes that don’t change or affect the DNA sequence. Research is leading to new information about the relationship between epigenetic changes and disorders like cancer, immune disorders and other diseases.
As I understand it Epigenetics are traits that are acquired throughout your life and can be passed on to a child or offspring. At the moment the testing of epigenetics is done primarily on mice because human testing is so comprehensive and it takes a long time to test between generations.
Here’s what they’ve found out so far in the lab. While working with mice they discovered if they introduce a small or mild stressor and pair it with a sensory cue, such as a sent or specific smell. Then the mice will avoid that cue whether it be a smell, sound or something visual. Then they looked at the brain waves of the mice and saw that the offspring devoted more mental energy to processing the same smell. They believe that could mean this is a cultural thing that is learned and passed along through the mice but then… They separated the offspring and had them raised by mice who had not been exposed to the same stressor and saw that the brain still devoted more energy to this smell.
All this information along with other studies on epigenetics is leading to the thought or belief that the choices we make and situations we’re exposed to can have a lasting effect on our kids and possibly generations to come.
So the question is, will the choices we make today effect our future generations?
I’d like to explore this question with you and add a health and fitness spin to it (this is a fitness website after all). What if we are a product of our decisions and that we actually have a lot more control then we believe? What if during our life we can add epigenetic tags to ourselves and become inherently better at things and then pass that along to our kids. Think of the physically active people in your life, you know the ones who seem to be genetically gifted at sports without even trying. What if in actuality those traits and skills were passed down generation to generation and are part of the DNA code of that person?
The study of epigenetics is still very young and it’s all very exciting to think of the possibilities and consequences of our decisions…
Listen to this episode where we discuss epigenetics and what’s happening in the health and fitness industry. Plus the truth about cellulite.
And as always remember – Stay Motivated!