I’m super grateful for my contrarian and stubborn nature because it helped me avoid making some pretty major errors in my life…and prevented me from some pretty crippling limiting beliefs.
Today I want to discuss the totally bogus belief that your genes are fixed and determine your skin, your personality, and your life.
This is one belief that I never bought into…I always knew that I could create my own experience and that I had a lot more control over outcomes than some theories would lead me to believe. I feel like I dodged a bullet!
Some theories would have you believe that you have no power over your genes, but what if you have a LOT of power? Wouldn’t that be nice?
If you knew that your life choices could change the expression of your genes without altering your DNA – would you make better life choices?
With the Human Genome project and the emerging science of Epigenetics, science has forayed into the understanding of genes in a big way…And the implications are AMAZING and EMPOWERING.
You have the power to change your life any way you want, starting from your genes.
What Are Epigenetics?
Epigenetics is “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.”
The Human Genome Project has identified over 22,000 genes in humans, and now scientists are finding that genes can actually be turned on and off and dimmed when certain conditions are met.
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This is amazing because it means that certain conditions are required for a certain gene to be activated and therefore turned on. Not all genes are expressed!
For example, even if you are genetically predisposed to obesity, it doesn’t mean you will actually be obese. You have to create the conditions for obesity to be possible for you, by say, eating pizza 3 times a day for 3 years.
The same is true for acne and skin problems. Perhaps you are genetically coded to be able to express the acne gene, however, certain physical conditions must be met for the acne to actually appear.
These conditions can be different for different people.
However, the underlying reason for acne is chronic inflammation. Many factors can induce chronic inflammation, but most of them have everything to do with your lifestyle choices.
Yes, choices mean that you have the power to make better choices.
For example, some people get acne when they’re stressed, while others get acne from eating too much sugar. Excess stress and sugar can both cause inflammation, which can cause acne.
The good news is that if you’re a person who gets acne from stress you can learn to manage stress and therefore get less or no acne. If you’re a person who gets acne from eating excessive amounts of sugar, you can simply cut down your sugar intake for clear skin.
The point is that by simply adjusting certain physical conditions, you can control the expression of your genes.
What Really Affects Your Genes?
Everything affects your genes, from the food you eat to the thoughts you think.
Are you not getting enough sleep? Always stressed? Drink too much coffee? Eat too much processed garbage? Destroying your gut with antibiotics? Always angry?
Look out, because you might be working towards a beautiful case of acne…or worse.
A lot of adults today get acne. And it’s not because acne is contagious or because acne genes are spreading. The conditions for acne expression, however, are on the rise.
I’ve traveled the world and have noticed acne everywhere I go — from North America, Europe, to Asia. Previously clear-skinned countries like Japan and Ukraine are now full of pimple-ridden faces.
This is not a freak occurrence. Inflammation is on the rise, vitamin and mineral deficiencies too, and a Westernized diet and lifestyle full of inflammatory fats and processed food and a ton of stress is making acne the norm instead of the exception.
But you are not doomed.
Nature vs. Nurture
Though you might think that you are doomed because you are genetically predisposed to maybe higher sebum production or higher levels of inflammation or a hormonal imbalance or sensitivity to acute stress…You are lucky.
You know how acne is your sign that you are creating less than stellar conditions for your gene expression?
Well, for some people that sign is diabetes, osteoporosis, or much worse like a full-blown autoimmune disease.
Count your lucky stars that your body’s warning system is just some pimples on your face because other people are battling with far more serious ailments all because of the conditions they’ve created within themselves.
Only about 5% or less of disease-related genetic mutations actually result in a disease – you’re left with 95% of genes that can be influenced by other factors, including your lifestyle choices and even EMOTIONS.
We have to stop blaming ourselves or our genes, and take back control of our lives.
You have the power to make choices that will benefit you and that will turn off the bad genes, and turn on the good ones.
You can create conditions for healing.
Did you know that Vitamin D is responsible for the expression of around 200+ genes? That means that your levels of Vitamin D can determine your quality of life and longevity and research has proven this time and time again.
People living too far away from the equator get little to no vitamin D from the sun, and this results in worse moods, irritability, diminished quality of sleep, worse skin, less focus, or worse.
It’s no coincidence that many people with cystic acne report improvements in their skin after supplementing with Vitamin D — a vitamin deficiency is not a joke.
The same is true for sleep. Sleep impacts around 700 genes, which means that your seemingly innocent sleep deficit can add up and impact your body in a negative way. I know when I miss out on sleep due to my overactive mind my face suffers the consequences.
The moral of the story is that you need to take care of your body or face the consequences.
How Can I Heal My Skin Through Positive Gene Expression
There’s a lot you can do to impact your quality of life and quality of skin.
Firstly, you have to start loving yourself in a BIG way, from the inside out. Nourish your body with positive, supportive thoughts, nutritious whole foods, and a healthy lifestyle.
This means you have to eat food that gives you vitamins and minerals and real energy, not short lived blood sugar spikes and raised inflammation.
Simply eating within a 12-hour window can even lower inflammation, versus eating all day and snacking into the night. Read more about time-restricted feeding here.
Did you know that a study done on mindfulness showed that this practice alone can lower inflammation by up to 15%? What’s more is that simply taking 5 minutes a day to be grateful can lower inflammation too.
It’s that simple.
So choose whole foods over processed foods, choose positive thoughts over negative thoughts, choose an active lifestyle over a sedentary one, and choose pleasure and joy over worry and stress.
Because you have the power of choice.