Epigenetics is the study of the things that turn our genes on and off. Some of our genes (on our DNA) are intended to be on (activated) and some are intended to be off (dormant). We inherit our genes from our parents. If one of them, or their parents, had cancer before we were born, then there might be a gene that increases our risk of the same type of cancer.
I had a discussion this morning with a gentleman who has living relatives in their 90’s and 100’s. In theory, he is destined to live a long life. However, epigenetics can play a role – positive or negative. Our genes tell our bodies what to do. They make the biological actions happen that need to happen to live our lives.
Our environment can make changes to our DNA by epigenetics. Chemical pollutants, dietary components, temperature changes, external stresses, famine, etc. affect our genes. The result can be good or bad. Someone who has a lineage of ancestors in their 90’s and 100’s can expect to live to that same relative age. However, environmental conditions could shorten it.
Conversely, if your parents died an early death, then a change in your lifestyle could allow you to turn those genes off that shortened their lives. Longevity is relative. There are things that accelerate and decelerate the aging processes. Smoking and stress accelerate aging. Fasting and exercise decelerate the aging processes.
We have daily choices. Those choices translate to the quality of our lives and the risk of developing age-related diseases sooner than our peers. Caloric restriction has been shown to lengthen the lifespan of many animals. It is an epigenetic factor.
Fasting, elimination of toxins, stress relief and exercise impact the bottom line – your lifespan, and the quality of that lifespan. My father used to have a fear of dying. We are all going to die. However, the quality of life is more important to me. I don’t want someone changing my diaper for the last ten years of my life. The choices I make today reduce that possibility.