Leading with Grit & Gratitude


Jen Guidry


acceptance balance change empowerment health mental health success traits May 28, 2024

I like to geek out sometimes on things. Epigenetics is one of them. I am writing this today to prompt you to do some more research on your own.

In the cool world of genetics, beyond the fixed sequences of DNA lies a dynamic layer called epigenetics. This rapidly evolving field is reshaping our understanding of how genes are expressed and how we can potentially influence our genetic destiny. Epigenetics provides a compelling narrative about the interaction between our genes and our environment, revealing how lifestyle choices can directly impact our biological inheritance. Yep, you heard that right.

What is Epigenetics? Epigenetics refers to the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code but still get passed down to at least one successive generation. This field examines how certain behaviors and environmental factors can cause genes to be turned off or on. At its core, epigenetics is about the chemical modifications that occur to DNA and histone proteins, which can influence gene expression without changing the DNA sequence itself.

Warning: You will need to use "The Google" to look some of these things up!

Mechanisms of Epigenetic Change The primary mechanisms of epigenetic change include DNA methylation, histone modification, and RNA-associated silencing. Each of these processes regulates genes in unique ways:

  • DNA Methylation: The addition of a methyl group to DNA, typically at cytosine bases, which generally suppresses gene transcription.
  • Histone Modification: Histones, which help package DNA into structural units called nucleosomes, can undergo various chemical modifications that affect gene visibility and accessibility.
  • RNA-associated Silencing: Involves microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs that can bind to messenger RNA to block its translation into proteins, thereby regulating gene expression.

Accessibility to Epigenetic Information One of the most revolutionary aspects of epigenetics is that everyone has access to potentially modify their epigenetic states, which can be influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress management, and exposure to environmental pollutants. For instance:

  • Diet: Foods rich in folate, betaine, and vitamins B6 and B12 can influence DNA methylation.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity is known to modify the epigenetic markers linked to fat storage and muscle development.
  • Stress Management: Managing stress through mindfulness or therapy can potentially alter epigenetic markers associated with stress responses.

Implications of Epigenetics The implications of epigenetics are vast and profound, affecting numerous fields from medicine to psychology. It offers hope for tailoring more effective treatments for diseases like cancer, where epigenetic therapies can potentially reprogram cancerous cells to a healthier state. It also holds promise for combating lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes by personalizing diet and exercise programs that influence epigenetic markers.

Epigenetics empowers individuals with the knowledge that they are not just passive carriers of their DNA; they have the ability to influence how their genes are expressed. By understanding and utilizing epigenetic principles, anyone can potentially shape their health outcomes in significant ways, making it a key to unlocking the power of genetics in everyday life.

Further Exploration For those interested in diving deeper into epigenetics, numerous resources are available that discuss the latest research and findings. Websites like the National Institutes of Health and various scientific publications provide comprehensive insights into the ongoing advancements in this exciting field.

Jen Guidry is the #1 executive coach for women and female loan officers. She is also a best-selling author who helps her clients find life-balance, overcome past trauma, and achieve high-level success. Follow Jen on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to continue to get great insight and inspiration.