We are born with a certain set of inherited genes – our DNA. It is what makes us unique. Yet we know that genetically identical twins do not always get the same diseases. How can that be? The answer is simple, the environment is which they live is different. How we look and act results from the interaction of our genes and our environment – the interaction occurs through the epigenome, which includes all the elements that are capable of turning genes on and off. This remarkable field of study is called Epigenetics. We now know chemical changes in our environment can regulate gene activity and change gene expression. There is no question that major medical conditions from Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes to heart disease and some cancers are influenced by how we live our lives. What we eat, how we manage stress, how we live and manage our exposure to toxins all influence our epigenetics.
Here are some tips to minimize the negative effects of environmental toxins:
Exposure to smoke from fires: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/air/smoke_from_fire.htm
Tobacco secondhand smoke: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/
Alcohol and cancer: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet
Radiation-emitting products on the FDA website: https://www.fda.org
High antioxidant foods: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428