Genetics can be a complex subject, so to understand it better, let's break it down into sections.
What are genes?
Genes are made up of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a complex chemical that contains genetic information, a set of instructions usually coding for a particular protein or for a particular function; it determines what the organism is like, its appearance, emotions it displays and how it behaves in its environment.
Every cell in the body has the same DNA, and each person's DNA is different which makes us unique. DNA is made up of two long-paired strands spiraled into the famous double helix, and each strand contains millions of chemical building blocks called bases. In fact there are between 20,000-25,000 protein coded genes in humans.
A gene consists of a long combination of four different nucleotide bases (chemicals) - A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine), T (thymine).
Different combinations of the letters ACGT give people different characteristics, such as a person with the following combination - AAACCGGTTTTT - may have curly hair, while somebody whose combination is - AAACCGGTTTAA - may have straight hair.
So a gene is any section along the DNA that has instructions encoded that allow a cell to produce a specific product, usually a protein, such as an enzyme that triggers one precise action. There are between 50,000 and 100,000 genes, and every single gene is made up of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of chemical bases.
Where are they found
Every cell contains a nucleus, a double membrane‐bound organelle that has two functions, it stores the DNA and coordinates the cell's activities, which includes growth, metabolism, protein synthesis, and reproduction (cell division). Since the cell is small, it has to package the nearly six feet of DNA into tight packages, these long strands of DNA are called chromosomes.
In addition, humans and other complex organisms also have a small amount of DNA in cell structures known as mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell.
An organism's complete set of nuclear DNA (DNA found in the nucleus) is called its genome.
During DNA replication, DNA unwinds so it can be copied. At other times in the cell cycle, DNA also unwinds so that its instructions can be used to make proteins and for other biological processes. But during cell division, DNA is in its compact chromosome form to enable transfer to new cells.
In sexual reproduction, organisms inherit half of their nuclear DNA from the male parent and half from the female parent. However, organisms inherit all of their mitochondrial DNA from the female parent, since only egg cells, and not sperm cells, keep their mitochondria during fertilisation. So, DNA, along with the instructions it contains, is passed from adult organisms to their offspring. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, a total of 46; one from each parent. The 22 pairs (autosomes), look the same in both males and females with the 23rd pair, the sex chromosome, determining the sex (XX results in a female and XY results in a male). The only human cells that do not contain pairs of chromosomes are reproductive cells, or gametes, which carry just one copy of each chromosome.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)
During cell replication, there can sometimes be mistakes in the copying process, like typing mistakes. These mistakes lead to variations in DNA sequencing and can have an impact on health, disease susceptibility or response to drugs. If a SNP allele is received from one parent then it is called heterozygous, if received from both parents it is called homozygous. The type of allele and combination will determine the effect on health.
MTHFRC677T - GG -/- = SNP not present (-/-)
MTHFR03P39P - AG +/- = SNP present from one parent (+/-), this will have mild impact on gene expression
MTHFRA1298C GG +/+ = SNP present from both parents (+/+), this will have a greater impact on gene expression
- Gene example:
If a person has the SNP - a mutation for breast cancer or Alzheimer's Disease, it does not necessary mean they will get the disease. Environmental factors play a large part in the switching on or off of the gene, via the epigenetics.
Genetics for improved health
Although genes cannot be altered, the way they are expressed can be. Epigenetics changes from external sources (and also internal sources) can switch genes on or off and determine which proteins are transcribed, these changes can also be passed down through the parents. The big difference between genetic and epigenetic regulation is that epigenetic mechanisms do not involve a change to the DNA sequence, whereas genetic mechanisms involve the primary DNA sequence and changes or mutations to this sequence.
In a nut shell, epigenetics is the study of characteristics or “phenotypes”, they describes passing on the way the genes are used.
Changes in gene expression in the epigenetic layer of genes is a regular and natural occurrence, happening all the time. We now know that we can communicate with our genes not only through lifestyle choices and nutrition but also through emotions, these can cause epigenetic changes and gene expression, therefore promoting healthy cells or cellular apoptosis (death) resulting in illness.
Some examples of environmental factors that effects gene expression:
- Good gene expression: healthy diet, exercise, positive emotions, lifestyle choices
- Poor gene expression: poor diet choices, toxins, chronic stress, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise
- SNP's will also affect gene expression.
How do epigenetics work
They work by the addition or removal of small chemical tags to DNA, this highlights particular genes with information about whether they should be switched on or off. The chemical tag is a methyl group and it is used to modify one of the four bases, A, C, T and G, that makes up the genetic code of DNA. The letter that is tagged is C or cytosine and when modified, or methylated it is called 5-methyl cytosine. Methyl groups are added to DNA by enzymes called DNA methyl transferases (DNMTs). DNA double helix is wrapped around grey cylinders called nucleosomes and the “tails” of these proteins are called histones, these stick out from the compact nucleosome structure; like the methyl tags on DNA, small chemical tags can be added to these histone tails. Two of the chemical tags that are added to these tails are acetyl groups and methyl groups. Methyl, acetyl and other types of tags can be added to the tails in a large number of combinations and this effects whether an underlying gene is switched on or off. When genes are switched right off this is called silencing, they can also be full on, or somewhere in between by DNA methyl tags and histone tail tags. The combination of DNA and histone tags can also effect how easily a gene is turned on or off.
How energy sessions and nutrition help with gene expression
Energy medicine, the use of energy is able to reduce and likely remove any current damage to the way the gene is expressed, from perhaps years of stress and maybe unknown poor lifestyle choices. This together with nutrition are able to alter the expression of genes at the transcriptional level. Transcription is the first step of gene expression, in which a segment of DNA is copied into RNA to make proteins.
Example, certain vitamins and minerals can affect DNA methylation and histone methylation thereby modifying the expression of critical genes associated with physiologic and pathologic processes, including embryonic development, aging, and carcinogenesis.
Therefore cellular damage may be reduced
However, a continual healthy lifestyle is required in order to maintain optimal health
This example will highlight the importance of clearing of the epigenetic layer and continual management
Imagine a pond filled with clear water, in which health plants flourish and fish live. Overtime the pond can get filled with rubbish, therefore effecting the wildlife, plants begin to wither and die, fish become disease stricken. Clearing the rubbish from the pond, will allow the plants to regrow, produce oxygen, enabling fish to recover their health. However, if rubbish is still placed in the pond, no matter how many times the pond is to be cleaned, the health of plants and fish will continually be compromised.
Therefore altering the impact of gene expression requires a continual dedication to better lifestyle choices.
1/2 price session on Genetic Modifications, using energy to assist in altering the genetic expression of genes, focusing on the epigenetic layer.
Everyone carries two copies of the APOE gene, which makes a protein called apolipoprotein E (ApoE). There are three different types of the APOE gene, called alleles and it is the combination of alleles that determines if someone is at a higher risk of cognitive decline.
The healing will concentrate on the allele that poses the greater risk for the individual or on other factors affecting cognitive decline.
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with a focus on another gene
Did you know lifestyle factors can assist in reducing the outcome of cognitive decline and one such factor is with energetic work on the epigenetic layer of certain Alzheimer genes. Changes in gene expression in the epigenetic layer of genes is a regular and natural occurrence but can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment / lifestyle, emotions and disease state. We are able to alter this expression and reduce anything that has already impacted upon it - such as:
poor lifestyle factors, stress, environmental toxins, poor dietary intake, lack of exercise
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