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Genetics vs Epigenetics

Frequently patients attribute some of their ailments to their familial ties. While genetics certainly have some effect on one’s health, they by no means are a sentence to poor health and low quality of living. Some conditions do indeed have a genetic linkage; however, many others are linked to epigenetic changes to a person’s DNA. Epigenetics refers to changes made to a person’s DNA via a few different mechanisms controlled by various triggers (1). Unknown to most, DNA, like the majority of our body, is ever changing and adapting to the environment we put ourselves in. Some of these changes to our DNA happen to us during fetal development and can stem from what our mothers were experiencing stress-wise, dietary-wise or even from an environmental stressor (i.e. second-hand smoke, noxious gasses, and other harmful chemicals).


The changes don’t stop after being born though. A study looking at Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and its relationship to these types of epigenetic changes found the genes associated with NAFLD are more abundant in obese patients (2). Another study looked at how epigenetics play a role in asthma (3). They found a positive association in both allergies and asthma in patients whose: mother’s used tobacco and those who were exposed to particulate matter or heavy metals at a young age (3). They also found that children who grew up in a farming area were less likely to have allergic disease or asthma (3).


This is just a brief introduction to the topic of epigenetics and meant to show that health is something that is ever changing and is in your control to some capacity. More and more is being uncovered about epigenetics and its relationship to disease. The adage “health is wealth” carries much weight. The healthier you are, the more you can do and a great place to start is making sure your nervous system is functioning properly. If you haven’t been adjusted in a while or have any questions about epigenetics, reach out to Dr. Kennedy today!



Sources

  1. Peixoto, P., Cartron, P.-F., Serandour, A. A., & Hervouet, E. (2020). From 1957 to Nowadays: A Brief History of Epigenetics. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(20), 7571. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207571

  2. Fen, X., & Wanrong, G. (n.d.). The progress of epigenetics in the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Liver Research, 4(3), 118–123. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from INSERT-MISSING-URL.

  3. Zahra, A., Esmaeil, M., Ian, A., & Mostafa, M. (n.d.). Role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of asthma. Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 16(2).





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