Environmental Toxins – Your Genes

We’re all aware of how our environment has increasingly raised levels of toxins through pollution and the increase of human consumption of manufactured goods.  Did you know that one of the potential effects of these toxins may affect your genes?  It’s true!  We’re going to explore some of these effects and what you can do about it as we strive for #optimalhealth in all aspects of our lives.

It’s surprisingly common…

Even in little things, you come into contact each day with environmental toxins in the form of “everyday” chemicals.  Read what Mark Sission wrote on his website:

We take in air, food, and water – as well as the extraneous substances contained in them. We use medications and personal hygiene products. We lick the adhesive to seal an envelope. The list goes on and on.

…our original genetic heritage doesn’t design our physiological fate. How we live determines how our genes play out their hand.

It’s about the structure…

What happens when genes are exposed to environmental toxins and influences doesn’t change the genetic code within your body, but it can affect how that genetic code takes expression.  Read what was written in a Duke University study:

Environmental factors such as food, drugs, or exposure to toxins can cause epigenetic changes by altering the way molecules bind to DNA or changing the structure of proteins that DNA wraps around. These structural changes can result in slight changes in gene activity; they also can produce more dramatic changes by switching genes on when they should be off or vice versa.

A definition of “exposure”…

You cannot avoid the world in which you live, but it is helpful to understand what we mean by “exposure” to these environmental toxins.  The National Human Genome Research Institute helps us with a clearer understanding:

In this context, “environmental exposure” means chemicals such as metals and solvents, and biological agents such as toxins released from mold and bacteria, that are contaminants of the natural environment of air, water, and soil. It also encompasses lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity. For most common diseases, such as obesity, asthma, and neurodegenerative disease, environmental exposures represent an important factor contributing to the development and progression of disease.

While these facts are still under the scope of learning and scientific discovery, and it certainly isn’t something we want you to lie awake at night thinking about, we do want to explore the idea of limiting exposure to environmental toxins as a method of achieving an even higher #optimalhealth!  Stay tuned for more insights into this subject!

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