Thank goodness there’s only one me, I’m not sure the world could handle another of me. Have you ever thought about having a doppelgänger

The fact is there’s only one you, you're the only one in this world like you! There isn't, and never will be another beautiful, creative, witty, outrageous, quiet, intelligent person like you. Even if you had a twin, and you looked alike perhaps, in the spur of a moment you might baffle your mom! Yes, you could look flawlessly alike, with perfectly placed dimples and birthmarks in the same spots, but wait, what about your inner self?

What about your mind and heart, the way they act, react, and respond to life? Your traits and characteristics make you amazingly unique, they make you, you! It could be the way you think and look at life, your beliefs, your tastes, and your preferences. You might be the only one in the world who thinks monkey poop coffee tastes delightful. Or you could be one of those rare people who finds the smell of garlic breath quite aromatic! (If this is you, I’m so sorry.) Your incredible mind, how you process thoughts, and your ideas are what makes you, you. Wrap your head around this thought, you are one in a billion on this planet earth. I'm going to say it's the magnificent work of the Universe, that's created each one of us differently. But the good ol' Universe has also given us science, so we humans can use our brains and microscopes to determine different aspects of (basically) everything in our lives.

I walk a very fine line between science and God, or Universe, or whatever Higher Being you call it; I walk this line because I see science as valuable evidence in creation. The more I dig into my body, and as the past twenty years have raced by, I’ve had opportunity after opportunity to search inside and find out what makes me tick, makes me different, and what makes me the same as you. Crazy, right? I mean hello, I’m not the only one drooling over Kit Harington and Jon Hamm, am I? HA! All seriousness now, I want to talk to you today about epigenetics, a new-ish topic on the scientific scene and the minds of many biohackers, including myself.

This is HUGE.

Go ahead, ask me, Lane, what’s the big deal with epigenetics, and what exactly does this have to do with me? Well, I thought you’d never ask, let me try to unravel it a bit in plain ja terms, 'epigenetics' is the study of change in organisms caused by modifications of gene expression, rather than altering the genetic code itself.’

Wow. Now, what does that mean?

I’d say it’s more or less like a control system. Epigenetics controls our DNA and instructs them to act in certain ways by turning them ‘on' or ‘off', when it becomes necessary. Remember in the Netflix Series, House of Cards, when Frank Underwood would want to ‘turn off” his sexual leanings for men, he would behave horribly to his wife, Claire, forcing her to have sex with him in unpleasant ways, and then make promises and deals with her to a better life. Now I’m not saying this is exactly the same, but your system might need to quiet down some of the DNA a bit to keep your body from going totally crazy, just like Frank does to keep his leanings in order and maintain a “picture perfect life arrangement” with his wife and society at large! Here, let me put it another way, think of your life as a long movie in which your tiny cells are the characters, while your DNA is your script. The key phrases that lead to key actions would be your genes, get what I mean?

Epigenetics can also be seen as ‘directing’ where you could alter the entire movie by eliminating or including scenes for the better, or worse. Everything you do is connected with epigenetics. What you eat, where you live, what you do, how you sleep, how often you have sex – yes, everything! Amazing, right? This explains why, in the case of twins, they can be so identical yet so different? If one of them sat on her bum all day long, gobbling down burgers and fries, watched TV non stop, slept like crazy and had a messed up routine, and then the other went off to boarding school, studied like a mad person, and ate healthy food everyday, do you think they’d end up to be the same? No! There's a good chance that they're going to turn out as two completely different people. The first one is likely to end up somewhat overweight and maybe a little self conscious, while the other, well, I’m guessing is going to be a go getter, and perhaps a - proper perfectionist.  Get what I'm saying here? How else can I say this? Basically, our entire identity is about our epigenetics, it's science that determines who you are and what you become. {I LOVE THIS!}

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The process of taking control over how your genes function involves the phenotype and the genotype. Here a change in gene expression occurs in the phenotype alone, and not in the genotype. There are three mechanisms by which an epigenetic process can take place: DNA methylationhistone modification, and noncoding RNA. The activating or silencing process of genes can have a lot of grave consequences on your life, more than you might think. Therefore, one thing is pretty clear; any epigenetic process can do more harm to you than good. (I know from personal experience...)

If you look at some of the latest studies on epigenetics (and their findings), you’ll be surprised to see a close connection between epigenetics and some very common diseases like Cancer and diabetes. Faulty epigenetic mechanisms can cause inappropriate function of genes that can promote or inhibit cell growth and function. WTF? Can you believe it? My cells can inhibit or promote cell growth positive and negative, holy bananas! Epigenetic lesions and gene mutations can result in the loss of control over cell growth and lead to cancer development. Tiny animals like mice (sorry mice) were used to perform critical tests on where they arrived at clear conclusions, here’s what they did, and found out in this model. They introduced a methylation magnet among these mice to silence the p16 tumor suppressor gene, as a result, the development of cancer was made apparent, proving that epigenetic silencing can directly lead to cancer formation. A large percent of these mice developed lung cancers, leukemia, or sarcomas, while a few of them ended up with tumors. The study continued to report that if methylation mechanisms could cause cancer, then reversing the process through demethylation methods could be a possible mechanism for cancer treatment as well. Phew! Now that’s some insanely deep stuff.

And it doesn’t stop there. What if I told you that problems related to the immune system are also connected to genetic alteration? Seriously! (This is why I’m so interested in this area, because after dealing with immune issues for more than twenty years one starts to be curious!Studies imply that genetic changes within the immune system or the target organ can lead to a development of autoimmune disease. I believe this is the case with me!

Studies surprisingly reveal that the effects of epigenetics can be carried on from the embryo's time in the womb to many more generations in our human lifespan. It's amazing how researchers found that in the case of twins, or even two individuals for that matter, who grew up in similar lifestyles and conditions, and lived many years together share similar DNA methylation patterns and histone acetylation patterns compared to those who grew up differently and spent less time together. 

Now wait, that’s not it! The amount of influence epigenetics can have on several aspects of the human life is profound and does not stop just there. Mental wellbeing and psychiatry are said to have strong links to genetic activity too!

Are you freaking kidding me Lane?

I wish I was, but no, I’m not! Mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism can be partly classified as hereditary - meaning they can be inherited through the genes that travel from one generation to the next. However, new findings reveal that the development of such mental diseases could be epigenetic. Are you kind of getting blown away at this point? Believe me, I am too. Learning about this topic has been like a roller coaster ride. It’s full of surprises!

Oh and since I’m a mom, I just had to dig into this part... one other external factor that affects genetic activity is maternal and prenatal stress, NOOOOOO. Women going through a stressful, mentally challenging pregnancy are likely to produce children with mental, and anxiety disorders. I want mothers-to-be, to know that it might be a really good idea to sign up for those prenatal yoga classes and sing kumby-ya, start practicing mindfulness, go swimming and check into a new mom group! I have to mention this as well, you might want to steer clear of any depressive episodes, whether it’s from a TV show, or life itself, if you find yourself down in the dumps call a girlfriend and hash it out, get it off your chest, you and your soon to be child depends on it! Plenty of evidence shows us how it can affect the physical status of the offspring. Factors like BMI, birth weight and nutritional factors can all be determined by changes in the genes.

I know this seems like a lot, and it is, but I’m diving into this with you because I’m obsessed with feeling good, kicking ass and thriving in my life everyday and I want you to be on the beam with me in understanding all these little genes. As the years keep passing, I’m noticing that my long ago, once insured rear end is beginning to fall quickly like a half baked souffle. (I’ll tell you about the insurance another time). I’ve learned that there is a link between DNA methylation and aging! This makes me want to cry! A particular study revealed that genes were expressed at a much higher level in older people than in young infants, indicating the possibility of developing certain age-related diseases. The study concluded that DNA methylation patterns changed with age and that age-related diseases could be treated by addressing epigenetic mechanisms. Now here’s a problem with a solution. Thank goodness for that!

I want to leave you with a handful of biohacking tips you can easily start taking on as you upgrade and live a more bulletproof life. Remember living in a state of high performance is no joke, but at the end of the day wouldn’t you rather be aging gracefully then throwing back another vodka tonic destroying your genes and any chance of a hangover free tomorrow!

Eat smart: This is no surprise, right? Food and exercise always go hand in hand; they’re like the two wheels on the bicycle, you’re not going to get very far with only one, unless you ride a unicycle, ha! Eating good, nutritious, organic food in the right amounts is important not just for gene wellness but for overall health and maintaining a state of high performance.

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Avoid sugars: Cut down on the refined sugars and carbs. If you’re an absolute sweet-tooth person who needs to eat desserts, pastas and pizzas, then this is perhaps bad news for you. Try replacing your sugary treats with more complex, non grain carbs and eat more nuts and try my fat bombs!

Adapt to a Paleo diet: Nothing could be better than a combination of lean proteins and vegetables, along with some culinary herbs which will provide you with the required amino acids, dietary fats and antioxidants. Need help with menu ideas? Solutions provided, always!

Supplements: Include a good multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement to your diet on a daily basis. Supplements can help with certain genetic weaknesses and minor genetic complications. Folic acid helps with DNA synthesis and repair. So, make sure you throw some into your daily routine!

Exercise: I’ve mentioned this how many times? MOVEMENT. Shake your body, make it happen, exercise is it’s equally important as food. Exercise undoubtedly will help keep your genes healthy.

Stay far away from toxins: Be aware of your surroundings; from those different colored plastics in your kitchen and bathroom, to the fruits you get from the market. Toxins are everywhere and they can be one of the biggest enemies of your genes!

Chillax: You don’t necessarily have to fly away to Venice or Hawaii to get into relaxation mode. Meditation is great therapy. Treat yourself with a little bit of yoga, go shopping, invite your friends over for a cuppa tea. Ah…. Trust me, sometimes, a ladies’ night with my girlfriends is just what I need!

Messing with your genes is a really bad idea, take care of them, before they get turned on to your disadvantage. Ready to feel good all the time? Learn more on how you can upgrade your epigenetics and treat yourself right, sign up for a session with me!

Change your life, you’re worth it.