Epigenetics…The True Preventative Medicine

 

Over the last 17 years of practicing integrative internal medicine, I have come to understand the true science behind my integrative approach to co-creating health and wellness for myself, family, friends, colleagues, and patients. In the scientific world it culminates with Epigenetics, a new science that   demonstrates how environment and behavioral choices can influence our genetic code.

 

Scientists from Mendel and Darwin in the 19th century to Watson and Crick in the 20th century have proven that one’s genetic makeup, chromosomes, are passed from parent to child and form a genetic blueprint for development. Since the late 1990’s an effort to decode the human genome suggested that 98% of DNA is “junk” and without function.  However, recent researchers have come to realize that genes are not fixed predetermined blueprints passed from generation to generation. Instead, our genome contains at least 4 million “switches” that can be turned on and off by life experiences and environmental influences.  Scientists are now linking certain markers, or switches, to conditions such as asthma, diabetes, mental illness, and even cancer. 

 

How we sleep, the types and levels of stress we experience, our quality of diet and type of foods we eat, toxin exposure, alcohol, and lack of exercise can all alter our genetic makeup during gestation, early development, and throughout adulthood. These behaviors and exposures chemically change our genes by either activating or deactivating the switches, modifying histones (basic proteins associated with DNA), or adding methyl groups to our DNA strands – hence disease or reversal of disease. For example, consuming foods rich in gene-altering methyl groups like non-GMO soybeans, red grapes, or green tea may protect against disease by deactivating detrimental gene “switches.” Health journalist, Alice G. Walton states, “We’re not completely at the mercy of our genes. In many ways, they are at the mercy of our health and lifestyle decisions and habits. “

 

The front cover of the January 18, 2010 TIME Magazine, dedicated its leading article to “Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny.” In this article, TIME revealed how the science of Epigenetics explains how your health choices can change your genes. The article discusses in detail a study in the Netherlands that catapulted the science of Epigenetics. I highly encourage reading the article in its entirety.

 

Those of you who come to counsel with us at the Raby Institute have a better appreciation of our objectives for practicing integratively. You understand why we tirelessly encourage behavioral changes to shift or prevent the onset of disease in any form - physically, emotionally, psychologically, biochemically, and spiritually.

 

Here’s to your health,

 

Theri Griego Raby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theri Griego Raby, MD, ABIHM
"Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine."
- Buddha