Just because some diseases are common in your family, it does not mean that you too automatically will suffer from them. In recent years, more and more research has shown that your lifestyle has great impact on which information that is activated in your genes. The expression of the genes has shown to be of great importance if you develop a disease or not. This research field is known as epigenetics.
In epigenetics, the changes in gene expression is studied – and mainly what makes a gene active or inactive. Epigenetics can also be described as the study of the link between the inherited genes and the effects of the environment. Simplified, one can say that the focus in epigenetics is to study which information in the genes that is “activated” and which information that is “turned off” – and why. In the human genome, there are approximately 25 000 genes that can either be “on” or “off”. Several of these genes may also be more or less active in different cells. Epigenetic changes occur throughout the lifetime, partly due to aging, lifestyle and environment.
Research has shown that lifestyle has a great impact on which information in the genes that is activated. In other words, you are not a “victim” for your genes since your lifestyle can determine which information in the genes that is activated. For example, studies have shown that healthy diet and exercise will help to activate “positive” epigenetic signals.
A new study has also shown that both yoga and meditation can affect the expression of the genes positively? Read more about this in the next blog post.