May 1, 2014 in Blog, Health

Epigenetics & Ayurveda

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What does Epigenetics have to do with and Ayurveda?  Oh my God, everything! 

I’ve known about epigenetics for a long time now, but just recently I heard an interview with Cate Stillman and Dr Eric Grasser on “epigenetics and Ayurveda” – and I thought, wow this is brilliant!  All of a sudden, everyone is talking about it, even in the world of Ayurveda (actually that doesn’t surprise me at all.  Ayurveda has known this for thousands of years, they just didn’t call it epigenetics). 

First of all, what is Epigenetics?  “It is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself” (just google it).  Quite simply, you can turn certain genes off or on depending on lifestyle choices.  So even though you might have a gene that predisposes you to a disease such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Grave’s disease, etc.  You have the power to turn the expression of these ‘bad’ genes OFF through nutrition and lifestyle choices.  You basically control the expression of your genes by what you eat and do TWEET it:  (   IMAGINE THAT! 

Our modern world contains many opportunities for becoming toxic which affects us at the molecular level causing changes in our gene expression.  Toxicity comes from many sources:  our environment, food, water, skin products, cleaning products, radiation, heavy metals, and most importantly our thoughts! 

Epigenetics is also related to methylation.   Methylation is caused by the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme).  When this MTFR is defective it can increase your risk of:

  • Various forms of cancer
  • heart disease
  • thyroid disease
  • inability to rid toxins and heavy metals
  •  mental disease such as bipolar and depression,
  • inflammation
  • Inability to convert inactive folate & B12 to active forms causing an accumulation of folate and B12 in the blood

 The good news is that there is a very accurate blood test you can get done to test and see if this gene is defective or not.  But what if it is defective?  What can you do about it?  So here is where epigenetics comes in:  Your lifestyle choices and food you eat can keep this particular defective gene from expressing itself!  The diet it requires you to keep – if you find out it’s defective – is the one I’m always talking about…. an anti-inflammatory, clean eating, daily detox kind of diet.  

So how does all this have to do with Ayurveda?  Everything!  You see Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years and it has always emphasized that lifestyle and environment are the keys to health and prevention of disease!  Ayurveda teaches you to eat for your constitution for optimal digestive health and wellbeing; it teaches you to keep a daily routine; to eat with the seasons; to get enough sleep; to maintain good personal hygiene; to participate in seasonal or routine detoxification, and so much more.  Ayurveda is all about prevention so you can keep those ‘bad’ genes from expressing themselves.  I find this to be brilliant – yogis are so smart (well, Ayurveda is not just practiced by yogis but I’m partial).  The more you live a lifestyle of prevention, the less time you’ll spend treating a disease Tweet it:

Bottom line – start eating clean, eliminate processed foods (dead food), eat in season, exercise daily, practice yoga, meditate, and finally – forgive, laugh and love more! 





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