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What is Epigenetics?


Not only do your genes influence your health, but so do your actions and the environment in which you live. This includes things like the foods you consume and the amount of exercise you get. Epigenetics is the study of how a person’s behavior and their environment may generate changes that impact how their genes function. That’s why it is important to have a Perfect Diet Plan and Fitness Routine. HealthCodes DNA™ is here to help you. Get the Fitness Panel at the best rate. Coming back to this, Epigenetic alterations, in contrast to genetic modifications, are reversible and do not alter the sequence of your DNA. However, they may modify the way that your body interprets a DNA sequence.


The term “gene expression” refers to the frequency or timing of the production of proteins based on the instructions contained within your genes. Epigenetic alterations impact gene expression and may “turn on” or “turn off” genes, in contrast to genetic modifications. Which can change the kind of protein that produce. It is simple to identify the relationship between your genes and the environment and the behaviors you engage in because your environment and habits, such as nutrition and exercise, may result in changes to your epigenome.


What is the mechanism behind epigenetics?

Changes in epigenetics may have a variety of effects on how genes are expressed. The following are examples of epigenetic changes:


The methylation of DNA

The process of DNA methylation involves the addition of a chemical group to the genetic material. In most cases, this group appends certain locations on the DNA. Where it obstructs the ability of proteins to “read” the gene by attaching to DNA and doing so. Through an operation known as demethylation, it is possible to eliminate this chemical group. In most cases, methylation will “switch off” genes, while demethylation will “switch on” genes.


Histone modification

Histone proteins encase DNA in their spiral structure. The proteins that “read” the gene are unable to reach the DNA if it is securely wrapped around the histones. Some genes are turned “off”. They are wrapped around histones, whereas other genes, which are not wrapped around histones, are activated because they are not turned off. It is possible to add or remove chemical groups from histones. Which will result in a change in whether a gene is wrapped or unwrapped (“on” or “off”).


RNA that lacks codons

Coding and non-coding RNA are both produced from your body based on the instructions found in your DNA. The production of proteins requires coding RNA. The process by which non-coding RNA attaches to coding RNA, along with specific proteins, to break down coding RNA so that it cannot be utilized to produce proteins is one method by which non-coding RNA contributes to the regulation of gene expression. Non-coding RNA may recruit proteins to change histones to “turn on” or “turn off” genes.


How Can Changes Occur in Your Epigenetics?

Your epigenetic make-up changes as you get older, both as a natural consequence of maturation and the passage of time and as a result of the effects of your actions and the world around you.


The Interplay Between Genetics and Development

Changes to your epigenome occur even before you are born. Although they all share the same DNA, each of your cells has its unique appearance and behavior. During development and growth, epigenetics plays a role in determining the function that a cell will have, such as whether it will become a cell that makes up the skin, the heart, or the nervous system.


Example: Nerve cell vs. Muscle cell


Even though they share the same DNA, your muscle cells and nerve cells have quite distinct functions. One of the functions of a nerve cell is to transmit information to other cells in the body. The structure of a muscle cell contributes to the capability of your body to move about. Through the process of epigenetics, a muscle cell can generate proteins that are essential to its function while simultaneously silencing genes that are essential to the function of a nerve cell.


Epigenetics and chronological age

Your epigenetic makeup will evolve as you go through life. Your epigenetics when you were born are not the same as your epigenetics when you were a kid or when you were an adult.




DNA methylation at millions of locations assesses a baby, a 26-year-old, and a 103-year-old participant in the study. The comparison included a newborn, a 26-year-old, and an older participant. The degree to which DNA is methylated decreases as people become older. The level of DNA methylation in a newborn was the greatest, while the level in a 103-year-old was the lowest. The level of DNA methylation in a 26-year-old was intermediate between that of the newborn and the 103-year-old


Epigenetics and the Capability to Change

Not all modifications brought about by epigenetics are permanent. Some epigenetic alterations can introduce or deleted in response to shifts in either behavior or the surrounding environment.


Example: Smokers vs. non-smokers vs. former smokers


Changes to one’s epigenome may be brought on by smoking. For instance, compared to non-smokers, smokers often have a lower level of DNA methylation in certain regions of the AHRR gene. The gap is even wider between heavy smokers and smokers who have maintained their habit for many years. Former smokers can begin to exhibit enhanced DNA methylation at this gene sometime after they have given up smoking. They eventually have the potential to attain levels that are comparable to those of non-smokers. This might happen in less than a year for some people. But the exact amount of time it takes depends on how long and how much someone smoked before they stopped.


The Link Between Epigenetics and Health

Alterations to your epigenome may have a variety of effects on your health, including the following:



Germs can alter your epigenetics and make your immune system less effective. This contributes to the germ’s ability to live.


Example: Mycobacterium tuberculosis


Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes TB. Infections caused by these pathogens may lead to alterations in the histones of certain of your immune cells. Which ultimately results in the “off” switch being flipped on the IL-12B gene. Your immune system will be weakened, and the likelihood of Mycobacterium tuberculosis surviving will increase if you “switch off” the IL-12B gene.



A higher risk of developing cancer is associated with having certain mutations. In a similar vein, some epigenetic modifications may raise your chance of developing cancer. For instance, if you have a mutation in the BRCA1 gene that stops it from acting as it should, you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer as well as other types of cancer. Increased DNA methylation, which leads to lower BRCA1 gene expression, also elevates the risk of cancer, including breast cancer as well as other types of cancer. Even while certain genes in cancer cells have higher levels of DNA methylation than normal cells do, the total amount of DNA methylation is lower in cancer cells.


Normal cells have higher levels of DNA methylation. Seemingly identical forms of cancer can have very distinct patterns of DNA methylation. Epigenetics may use to assist in determining the kind of cancer that a person has or can assist in the early detection of tumors that are difficult to detect. Epigenetics cannot use identify cancer on its own; further screening procedures require to validate any potential cancer diagnoses.


Example: Colorectal Cancer


The expression of some genes alters colorectal tumors as a result of aberrant methylation of DNA in areas that are close to those genes. Stool samples are examined in some commercial colorectal cancer screening tests to check for abnormally high levels of DNA methylation in any one or more of these DNA locations. You must be aware of the fact that to finish the screening procedure. You will need to have a colonoscopy if the test result is positive or abnormal.


The Importance of Nutrition During Pregnancy

The surroundings and behaviors of a pregnant woman, such as whether or not she consumes nutritious food, have the potential to alter the epigenetics of the developing kid. Some of these changes may last for decades, which may increase the likelihood that the kid will develop certain illnesses later in life.


Example: Dutch Hunger Winter Famine (1944-1945)


People whose mothers were pregnant with them during the famine had a higher risk of developing various ailments, including heart disease, schizophrenia, and type 2 diabetes. These diseases were more common in those people. Researchers examined the levels of methylation in individuals whose mothers were pregnant with them during the famine. This study was conducted around sixty years after the crisis ended. In comparison to their siblings who were not subjected to hunger before their birth, these individuals showed increased methylation at some genes and reduced methylation at other genes. These variations in methylation might help explain why these individuals had a higher risk of developing certain illnesses later in life.



Epigenetics is an exciting and relatively new field that already provides important insights into complex biological processes. While much work still needs to be done to fully understand the role of epigenetics in human health and disease, the potential implications are profound. Epigenetic changes can pass down from one generation to the next, meaning that the health of future generations may be influenced by epigenetic changes that occur today. As we learn more about epigenetics, we may be able to identify new ways to prevent or treat disease, and ultimately improve the health of our children and grandchildren. And now, you can trace your family’s health at home with HealthCodes DNA’s comprehensive DNA test kit for health.

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