What do we know about genetics? How big of a role does our DNA have when it comes to our health and wellbeing? Find out as Dr. Kenneth Pelletier talks about some of the key points from his bestselling book, Change Your Genes, Change Your Life.
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Topics Discussed in this Episode:
What we know about genetics
The most common misconception that people have about genetics
Single nucleotide polymorphisms and epigenetics
How useful is DNA testing
The biological determinism use of genetic testing vs the biomarker approach
The case of Angelina Jolie’s 80% likelihood of manifesting breast cancer
Dr. Kenneth Pelletier’s research involving tripartite assays
Some of the environmental factors involved in epigenetics
The two types of stress
Pregnancy and the impact of environments and psychosocial factors on the child
The adverse childhood experience study and the Dutch famine study
The biggest misunderstanding that people have about genetics is that it’s the hard drive in your computer, that it’s a set of invariant’s, directives, codes, or instructions that are carried out mindlessly throughout the course of a person’s life expectancy, from birth to death. What we’ve realised in the last seven to eight years is that this is completely wrong.
Less than 5% of any aspect of a human being — from eye color to weight to cognition to intelligence to diseases we will get — is actually ingrained in the genetic code from the time of birth. 95% of everything we experience as adults are due to epigenetic factors.
Genes are invariant; they do not change unless they are damaged by radiation or petrochemical exposure. What does change is the molecular coding around the gene, the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
SNPs express or suppress a particular gene based on everything that happens around that gene.
You may have a predisposition to a particular disease, but whether or not that particular gene gets expressed is going to be dependent on everything you do from the moment of birth on.
Most monogenic or fully penetrant diseases that are pushed to the extent where if you have that gene you’re going to manifest that disease, occurs within the first eight to nine months of life. After that, everything else is epigenetic or interactive.
If you think about the gene inside a cell, it’s in an ocean of biochemistry. That biochemistry within the cell is affected by the entire biochemistry of our body. And that biochemistry in the biome is constantly changing. So in six-month intervals, you’re going to have radical changes.
Stress is one of the highly predictable, very modifiable influences, that has a direct impact on genetic expression.
The impact of friendship, of having close relationships, has a profound influence on certain diseases. And it doesn’t even have to be a person, it can be a pet or a plant.
The fetus is an integral part of the mother’s body. It’s essentially another organ of the mother, and the intrauterine life of that fetus is affected by everything the mother does.
If there’s one area that we know has the largest impact on genetic expression is diet. It affects all seven biological pathways in the body.
Get genetic testing done.
Practice stress management techniques like meditation.
Cultivate friendships and close relationships.
Dr. Kenneth Pelletier said:
“The epigenetics of the gene revolution is more like an interactive artificial intelligence. We are constantly interacting with our environment, everything we do and everything around us to, in turn, express or suppress a particular gene.”
“Your genetic profile today would be totally different next week. It will be radically different in a month. In a year, you won’t look like the same person… We as human beings are dynamic, evolving, changing day to day, minute to minute.
Thanks for listening!
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Links to things we discuss in the show:
Books by Dr. Kenneth Pelletier:
More from Dr. Kenneth Pelletier:
More from Leanne Spencer: