Epigenetics and Chronic Disease
“The Human Genome Project was an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint.” The hypothesis was that the project would map out the estimated 120,000 genes in the human genome and get a handle on the genetic roots of disease.
We were all in for a surprise. The finished project identified only about 20,000 genes – not nearly enough to explain the variation of the expression of our physiology. Further investigation revealed that the DNA genome is “played” by another code – the epigenome – sitting on top of the DNA sequences. The DNA genome is extremely stable and is only responsible for about 5% of human diseases. The epigenome was discovered to be very responsive and changeable and is responsible for at least 80% of human diseases – particularly chronic diseases. The epigenome is comprised of methyl groups, histone bodies, RNA particles and transcription factors which selectively turn specific genes on or off, or turn production of proteins up or down.
Here’s the important bit. It is our life experience which drives our epigenome to “play” the genetic code that we are born with. Humans – indeed all organisms – are DESIGNED to be sensitive to changes in our environment. The following life factors cause our epigenome to alter the expression of our genetic code: Diet; Stress; Trauma; Exposure to Toxins; Exercise or lack of exercise; Spiritual practices; Drugs of all types; Hormone changes, or Microbes (infections or microbiome). The vast majority of these changes are beneficial – we actually don’t even notice. Sometimes, however, the epigenome creates changes that don’t work. Disorders shown to have strong epigenetic roots include Schizophrenia; Bipolar; Alzheimer’s; Autism; Major Depressive Disorder; Autoimmune diseases like Lupus; Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis; Cancer of all types; Asthma; Cardiovascular disease; COPD; Diabetes mellitus; Emphysema; and Endometriosis. There are many more conditions that probably have an epigenetic genesis – but the research is still in progress.
Fortunately, there are a number of things that we can do to turn back the clock on chronic disease – or avoid it altogether. My article last month outlined practices that will help you avoid or reduce the progression of chronic diseases.
BodyTalk is very effective with chronic conditions specifically because if works directly with the same mechanism that triggers changes in expression of our epigenome. I just completed training in techniques specific to addressing epigenetic problems. Even without these specific epigenetic techniques, I have seen success with COPD, Asthma; Osteoarthritis; Lupus; Chronic Pain; Digestive disorders; Insomnia; Anxiety; Schizophrenia; Bipolar, Depression and other chronic problems. BodyTalk can help to slow or halt progression of these problems and even provide for some regression of the symptoms.
It is important to use BodyTalk in conjunction with standard medical therapy and lifestyle changes if you have a chronic disease. BodyTalk is a positive addition to your ability to manage your chronic illness. My experience is the best results come from a combination of skillful medical direction from your physician, lifestyle changes and several BodyTalk sessions to improve your body’s awareness of chronic health issues and start the work of re-balancing.
If you would like to explore BodyTalk for your health and wellbeing, you can contact me at 406-529-2190. I would be delighted to work with you.
Joel Lankford, CBP, PaRamaBP