How Does Diet Influence Your Genes?

Inspired By  Deepak Chopra
8 mins

Quick Summary

Epigenetics suggests that our behavior can influence which of our genes are turned on or off. This has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in medicine. Most people tend to attribute far too much power to their genes. Dr. Mark Hyman has seen thousands of patients who have blamed genetics for their ailments and diseases, however it is your lifestyle washing over your genes that determines who you are in any moment.

What you eat, how you move, how you restore your system, along with your thoughts, feelings and social connections, regulate your genes.

Those genes end up creating the expression of who you are and how you are. You can turn on genes that create health or disease, weight gain or weight loss.

Super Genes - a combination of the activating of your Genome, microbiome and the epi-genomes

What is our human genome and microbiome?

We start in our mothers womb with 23,000 human genes. On the way out from the mothers womb and shortly there after we acquire 3.3 million bacterial genes, 150 times more than from our origin. The number of bacterial out-number our cells 10 to 1. The number of bacterial genes out-number our human genes 150 to 1. We are less than 10% human. 

We are a few human cells hanging on to a bacterial colony. 

We are the awakening of bacterial consciousness! This adds another dimension to the question ‘Who am I?'

What is the epigenome?

A shell of proteins outside the gene. These proteins influence gene activity as well. There is traffic of information between the epigenonme, microbiome and human genome through various metabolites. The metabolise are produced by the microbiome in our gastro intestinal tract. 

The microbiome is the first thing food comes into contact with. The microbiome, is the ecology of the earth. It doesn’t like antibiotics, hormones, insecticides, pesticides, petroleum products, alcohol, refined and processed products, GMOed. 

Our microbiome is the life of the earth and quite simply, it works optimally when we eat naturally, food of the earth. 

When it gets inflamed it sends out metabolites that cause disruption of the activity, both the epigenome and the gene directly. It gets inflamed when we put non natural things in our bodies. 

Your epigenome, react to everything from sleep to emotions, stress, exercise, movement, breathing, food… so this is the integrated activity which we call the super gene. 

From the ancient wisdom of the Ayurveda’s, food that comes directly from nature is the best food. 

Food has 6 states - sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent, astringent. The combination of;

  • Sweet, sour and salt slows down your metabolism. 
  • Bitter, pungent and astringent speeds up your metabolism. 
  • Astringent, bitter sweet is anti-inflammatory (sweet means anything that has a sweet after taste like complex capo hydrates and fats).

Heathy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, ghee.

When fat is used in the absence of refined sugar, it’s what is called lipophilic which helps the membrane of the cells absorb other micro-nutrients. If you have refined sugar with fat is devastating. 

The super gene combines them all (human genome, microbiome and your epic genome) to create the one system. The power of our diet to regulate that is enormous. 

How we live our life, relate to people - compassion, joy...  influence everything that is happening in our metabolism.

The social genome

Our social interactions can literally change our gene expression in real time for better or worse. 

Meditation

A study was done at the Chopra centre of just 4.5 days of mediation found that the length of telomeres went up 40%. All the genes involved in healing (homeostasis) they were upregulated. The activity went up. All the genes that were involved in inflammation and disease were down-regulated (those genes went down).

We now have a genetic signature just for mediation 

Breathing

Another study on breathing like Ujjayi Breathing (found in yoga), Pranayama breathing (victory breath - breath in with arms up in the air), or Cat Cow in yoga, they stimulate the vegas nerve which changes the microbiome, which shoots up oxytocin, dopamine, opiates and sertonine back to the brain. The vegas not only reguates your heart rate variability (which is a measure of stress), but actually helps you breath slower, stimulates the parasymatheic nervous system, changes the microbiome, changes the inflammatory markers, changes leaky gut, changes the way the brain works…

Not only are your genes listening to your thoughts, but your microbiome are listening to your thoughts!

Interview by Dr. Mark Hyman

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