Improving Your Genetic Health

Published: July 29, 2014 | By Dr Isaac Eliaz

The genes you inherit from your parents strongly affect your health and longevity. But you can influence your genes in a healthy fashion using the proper herbs, nutrition and lifestyle choices. Research shows that the natural chemicals in particular foods and botanicals send signals to DNA, optimizing cellular function and keeping illness at bay. Even positive emotions can help DNA yield better health.

Redrawn Blueprints

We are all born with a certain genetic makeup, and scientists once believed that this blueprint was permanent and unchangeable — essentially that our DNA dictated our destiny. However, an exciting new field of genetic science is emerging which demonstrates that our gene expression can be influenced and altered for better or worse, based on internal and external triggers. These influences on our genes can change how we age, how our bodies react to lifestyle and environmental factors, how we resist illness and even how we gain weight.

Epigenetics is the study of how various factors affect our genes. Advances in this field are showing how environment, diet, lifestyle and even thoughts and emotions can have just as powerful an impact on gene function as biological lineage. Small changes in the expression of one master regulator gene, originating in a number of potential influences, can cause a ripple effect and ultimately guide the way your genes, cells and body systems function and communicate.

Regulator Gene Controlling Fat Metabolism And Diabetes

Researchers at the University of Oxford and King’s College London have discovered the regulatory influence of a gene called KLF14 on other genes found within fat cells in the body, according to a study published in Nature Genetics. KLF14 has long been linked to metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and elevated cholesterol, but its purpose was unknown.

KLF14 controls the behavior of other important genes in fat cells that are associated with body-mass index, insulin, glucose levels and cholesterol. “KLF14 seems to act as a master switch controlling processes that connect changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in the muscle and liver,” says Mark McCarthy from Oxford University. This study confirms that KLF14 behaves as a regulator of many metabolic traits, including blood glucose levels, fat and cholesterol metabolism, and more. If we can positively influence KLF14 gene function through diet, supplementation and lifestyle habits, we can successfully control various metabolic traits, leading to improved insulin function and better fat metabolism.

Foods And Botanicals Communicate With DNA

The complex interrelationship between genes, phytochemicals and nutrients, and lifestyle choices is just beginning to be understood by science. However, natural medicine has been using these principles for healing since ancient times. Many botanicals, herbs and nutrients communicate with the body on a cellular level and influence genetic expression and our DNA specifically to promote health and balance. Research is now finding that the chemicals contained in certain foods and botanicals send signals to DNA, optimizing healthy cellular function. Beneficial examples include green tea, curcumin or turmeric, and compounds in the cruciferous vegetable family (cauliflower and broccoli). Vitamin D also talks to genes, which is one reason why adequate Vitamin D intake is crucial for health.

Combining Eastern Medicine With Modern Health Systems

In my practice, I use a number of time-tested and medically researched herbs and botanicals that provide natural assistance for addressing conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, as well as other chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Many of these natural remedies, which have been used for centuries, are now found to work by communicating with specific genes within our cellular DNA, promoting healthy cell communication and function. By combining elements from both Eastern and Western health systems, certain natural formulas provide comprehensive synergistic benefits to support increased antioxidant activity, improved digestion, healthy inflammation response, healthy glucose metabolism, healthier lipid profiles and increased immune activity. Many of these compounds work together on a genetic level to influence positive gene expression and activate health-promoting behaviors, while deactivating harmful gene expression which would otherwise lead to eventual illness.

Mind Over Genes

Along with identifying the influence of herbs and nutrients, researchers have also demonstrated that your mind and emotions send signals to your cells that also determine genetic expression. This process derives greatly from the communications originating from your body, mind and emotions. This is something that we have known intuitively, and that all the great spiritual traditions have been teaching for thousands of years. Now modern science is confirming these truths, proving that our mental, emotional and spiritual states of being can greatly influence our DNA.

Meditation is one ancient technique that has recently been shown to promote positive genetic expression and DNA function through practices which calm and focus our mental, emotional and physical states of being. In fact, meditation practice has been shown successful in lowering blood glucose and hypertension in type 2 diabetes patients.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits Can Change Your Genetic Destiny

Following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet with the right supplements, engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a positive state of mind can put you on the path to wellness by balancing your body’s blueprint for health and vitality. This expanding area of genetic research represents a very exciting development within medicine, leading to a much more holistic understanding of health and disease, and one that has profound possibilities for healing. You can change your genetic destiny and in fact you are doing it at every moment. Take the time to enjoy a warm cup of green tea, take some deep breaths and relax. You have just changed your genetic destiny! This is truly powerful medicine.

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About the author

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator, and clinical practitioner. He has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s. Dr. Eliaz is a frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement, and cancer prevention and treatment. Visit www.dreliaz.org