What are you doing to Improve your Epigenetic Profile?
Sorry, you can no longer blame your ‘bad’ DNA for your failures. According to the latest research in the field of Epigenetics you [my definition of ‘you’ includes your family, community, values, etc.] can make choices that help you become healthier/sicker, happier/miserable, etc. – your choices even affect the chances that you will survive Covid-19!
According to Dr. Andrew Feinberg, environmental factors may have a greater bearing on disease onset than genetics. Feinberg, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Hopkins School of Medicine, researches precision dietetics, cancer, neuropsychiatric disease and infectious disease adaptation. In an online lecture earlier this month, he said that only five to 30 percent of diseases are currently understood through the whole sequence of the human genome. Feinberg described the genome as not static, and spoke to the connection between epidemiology and epigenetics. “The genome is adapted to its environment.“ https://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2020/04/understanding-covid-19-through-the-lens-of-epigenetics
Now, while interesting, you may ask: “What has this got to do with CACOR’s mission?” Good question! Well, the logical connection goes like this. First, you need to know that I have been a teacher most of my life. My observation is that “the apple does not fall from the tree” – in other words, if a student has parents/values/culture that supports and encourages learning the student will most likely do well in school. “Success” is not about raw ability, it is about attitudes that direct the potential that the student has. Now, I am not saying that an average person can become like Einstein, but I am saying that with the right attitude, right home support, good teaching, etc. every [unless severely Learning Disabled] student can be “good” at basic math skills and every student can read and write “well”. Not only that, such students will enjoy learning because they will be successful and thus their sense of self will be made stronger. Sadly, this often does not happen. In biological terms creating this type of learning “environment” changes our learning “DNA” . We are not smart/stupid when we are born, we are raised in ways that can make us smarter or stupider. This is an epigenetic view of learning. What makes this so powerful that long term behaviour changes can change your epigenetic “profile” which then is transferred via your genes to your children! We all have that power.
What this means for our current environmental challenges is this: as our misery is human caused it requires smart, capable, morally sound human beings to repair the damage we have done. These people must be healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally. Some societies seem better at raising socially healthy children who can help solve our problems, some societies not. This is a free choice which we as a society can make. Now, by “socially healthy” I mean not narcissistic, I mean children who can cooperate and share and be excellent in a way their works and ideas can be of benefit to all. Thus, our external problems like climate disruption and species extinction can only be “solved” by people who do not first think about themselves. This ‘culture’ does not happen magically, it must be nurtured. A Buddhist monk put it well a thousand+ years ago:
Is there need for lengthy explanation?
Childish beings look out for themselves,
While Buddhas labor for the good of others.
See the difference that divides them! . . .
The Way of the Bodhisattva,chap. 8, verses 129-130., SHANTIDEVA (685-763)
So, here is what you can do – deactivate your bad genes and activate your good genes. First do this in yourself, and then hopefully, your example will inspire others around you to do the same. It isn’t that hard – watch this video to get the basic ideas, ideas we all know but do not realize how really, really huge the impact is of these simple choices.
- Eat well Exercise every day 3. Build strong social connects
Our future and your children are counting on you. Good luck!