Epigenetic diseases are caused by inheritance factors other than DNA sequence of genes. Lifestyle factors like behavior, physical activities, working habits, nutrition, alcohol consumption, smoking, and environmental factors can cause epigenetic disorders. Epigenetic changes can cause diseases such as Angelman’s, Fragile X, Prader-Willi syndrome, and certain types of cancer. Epigenetic changes occur in several normal cellular functions. The changes can either switch the genes on or off thus determining the proteins to be transcribed. Therefore, the genes that are turned on are expressed while the ones turned off are inhibited.
Epigenetic and cancer
Cancer was the first disease to be linked to epigenetics. Turning off of methylated genes can result in loss of DNA methylation which causes high gene activation by changing the arrangement of chromatin. Contrarily, excessive methylation can inhibit the functioning of the protective genes that suppress tumor growth.
Depression and Epigenetics
Depression is a major factor that can speed epigenetic aging, and can take a toll on various mental and physical processes. Several modern studies have revealed that Major Depression Disorder or MDD can speed up the rate of aging particularly at the molecular level.
Stress is another factor that causes modifications in the DNA thus prompting alterations in gene expression. When one is stressed, glucocorticoids (steroid hormones) are produced, which impact various processes in the body. However, such effects can be mediated by HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis). The hormones can influence the HPA axis via gene modifications. These are DNA changes that don’t necessarily change gene sequencing but affect gene expression.
Combating epigenetic diseases
Epigenetic disorders are reversible by nature, unlike various DNA sequence mutations. Naturopathic medicine can help to combat epigenetic disorders. Naturopathic approaches are based on the belief that the expression of genes that come as a result of enzymes, hormones, and other regulatory paths can be modified through the environment, diet, and lifestyle changes.
Modifying your diet
Learn to make better choices by adding proper supplements that help fill the gaps in what you eat and what your body needs. Balance any unbalanced diet with natural supplements. Three balanced meals a day can help you feel good both mentally and physically. Nutrients help the body to repair and rebuild itself. Additionally, dietary modifications are recommended to evaluate one’s health.
Various studies have been conducted to confirm whether exercises can help regulate epigenetics that contribute to human diseases. Studies show that regular physical activity can bring positive effects that help to impact body DNA. Working out regularly can help the body maintain a healthy epigenetic profile and can affect the genes that are associated with cancer. It also fights other diseases and maintains proper weight. Moreover, physical exercise has also been known to improve gene regulation in many metabolic processes.
One way of fighting stress and depression is through meditation. Meditation helps to lower chronic inflammation that is connected to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, obesity, and depression. One way of doing mindfulness meditation is based on Buddhist practices. It calms the body and increases awareness. Meditation has also been known to help protect the parts of chromosomes that are vital in gene expression. It does so by maintaining the telomere length, which are the protective end-caps found on enzyme telomerase and chromosomes.
Other natural methods
Other natural treatment techniques such as maintaining a healthy environment to help strengthen healthy genetic activities, self-expression, and working regularly can help stop certain genes from expressing themselves.
Epigenetics can result in many disorders. Functional medicine focuses on the root cause of the disorder instead of just treating the symptoms. The above are some natural ways to combat epigenetics.