"Your genetic history is not necessarily your destiny." ~ Tana Amen B.S.N., R.N.
I am fascinated by this.
I am new to the term but not the concept. My husband and I came to the conclusion, after the research that we've done over the past 7 years or so, that genetics was not what it was cracked up to be. We no longer believe that just because a disease runs in a family, one is certain to get it. That doesn't mean we don't think it's possible...but we believe that other factors come into play and that these 'genetic' or 'hereditary' diseases are preventable. Now I have a word for it.
It turns out this term has been around since 1942 when the word was coined by Conrad Waddington, a developmental biologist and geneticist. So perhaps I've come across this word before - but it didn't sink in before now.
Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression which is not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. It is the coming together of your genes with your environment. While we are all born with a particular genetic code, our environmental input including diet, exercise, sleep patterns, emotional stress, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, air quality, exposure to chemicals, etc. affects whether certain aspects of that code are switched to the 'on' position. In other words, one can carry a gene but that doesn't mean the gene has to be ignited or become active.
So the old term "you are what you eat" really does bring truth since the relationship between environment (the food you eat) and chemical compounds that make up the epigenome is intertwined and continual. It determines whether your genes are expressed as health or in illness. You will not develop heart disease, bipolar disorder or Parkinson's disease because your father or your mother did. It takes the combination of your genes with your environment to bring on this chain reaction. Therefor, as Tana Amen states in her book, The Omni Diet, "Your genetic history is not necessarily your destiny".
Furthermore, YOU are in control of many of these factors! YOU determine what food you eat, your exercise level, your consumption of drugs and alcohol, whether you buy organic vs. conventional produce which strongly affects the number of chemicals your body ingests, and more!
** Just to note. The resources and links I give you are for your information. I do not receive any monetary benefits from telling you about them.