Genetics is the study of genes. The genes are units of an organism’s genetic code or blueprint from which DNA is made. Each person’s DNA lays the groundwork for the development of physical and psychological characteristics.
Epigenetics, Epi-genetics means above, beyond, or upon. Epigenetics focuses on factors that affect how genes are expressed, whether, for example, a particular gene is active or not or whether a specific protein is produced. The genes provide complex instructions for the creation of proteins, but the manner in which these instructions are usfed can be modified by various factors. Epigenetics is the study of how the environment influences gene activity and expression and is collectively called the epigenome.
Research in epigenetics and the human genome has exploded in the last few decades. Most research has focused upon the causes, prevention, and treatment of diseases. At the center of this discussion is that cellular organelle called the mitochondrion.
The (mito-kondre-ah, plural) mitochondria are the primary sites of energy production within our cells and are believed to have a crucial role in cellular communication and signaling. The word Mito comes from exchange and chondria from grain-like.
Since cellular energy production occurs in the mitochondria, all cellular metabolism is affected by the quantity and quality of mitochondrial function…everywhere. The highest concentration of mitochondria are found in the heart, brain, and the eyes. Cellular health, and thus our health is dependent upon not only genetics, but increasingly upon those epigenetic factors found in the environment. That environment includes the chemical, physical, mental, and emotional environment in which we exist.
A toxic, unhealthy environment inside and outside our bodies and minds reduces mitochondrial function. Without the critical and mighty mitochondria the bodies energy gets out of whack, which in turn knocks the cell’s metabolism into more and more dysfunction until we have disease processes and progression in seemingly unrelated areas and diagnoses.
The article is to be continued in the next edition next month….
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