The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step

Genetics

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors

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A drawing inspired by….”If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Generations of ancestors are present in each cell of our body and mind

 

 

When you grow up, you might believe that you and
your mother are two different people. But it’s not
really so. We’re extensions of our mother. We
mistakenly believe that we’re a different person than
our mother. We are a continuation of our mother and
father, and our ancestors as well.

Imagine a grain of corn we plant in the soil. Seven
days later it sprouts and begins to take the form of a
cornstalk. When the stalk has grown high, we won’t see
the kernel anymore. But the kernel hasn’t died. It’s still
there. Looking deeply, we can still see the kernel in the
stalk. The kernel and the stalk are not two different
entities; one is the continuation of the other. The stalk
is the continuation of the kernel in the direction of the
future, and the kernel is the continuation of the stalk in
the direction of the past. They are neither the same
thing nor two different things. You and your mother are
not exactly the same person, but you are not exactly
two different people either. This is a very important
teaching. No one can be by himself or herself alone. We
have to inter-be, connected with everyone and
everything else.

If we look into one cell of our body or one cell of our
consciousness, we recognize the presence of all the
generations of ancestors in us. Our ancestors are not
only human beings. Before human beings appeared, we
were other species. We have been trees, plants, grasses,
minerals, a squirrel, a deer, a monkey, and one-celled
animals. All these generations of ancestors are present
in each cell of our body and mind. We are the
continuation of this stream of life.

From reconciliation – healing the inner child by Thich Nhat Hanh


Negative Thoughts Harm Your Health By Damaging DNA

Source: Negative Thoughts Harm Your Health By Damaging DNA

With permission from

preventdisease.com

April McCarthy

May 19, 2017
Lose your temper on the road? Frustrated with colleagues at work? You may be cutting your life short, warns molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn–who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009–and health psychologist Elissa Epel, who studies stress and aging.

© iStock/Dr_Microbe

The authors claim in their new book, The Telomere Effect, that negative thoughts harm your health at the DNA level. Research has shown that a person’s “social relationships, environments and lifestyles” affect their genes. “Even though you are born with a particular set of genes, the way you live can influence how they express themselves.”

Blackburn and Epel say components of DNA called telomeres determine how fast your cells age. Short telomeres are one of the major reasons human cells grow old, but lab tests have shown that they can also grow longer. In other words, aging “could possibly be accelerated or slowed -and, in some aspects, even reversed.”

Research Proves That DNA Is Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

The aging and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell’s chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Blackburn likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel.

In one study, telomere length, an emerging biomarker for cellular and general bodily aging, was assessed in association with the tendency to be present in the moment versus the tendency to mind wander, in research on 239 healthy, midlife women ranging in age from 50 to 65 years.

“People who score high on measures of cynical hostility tend to get more cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease and often die at younger ages. They also have shorter telomeres.” 

Pessimism shortens telomeres too.”When pessimists develop an aging-related illness, like cancer or heart disease, the illness tends to progress faster… They tend to die earlier,” warn the authors.  

Ruminating over a bad situation is also destructive. “Rumination never leads to a solution, only to more ruminating… When you ruminate, stress sticks around in the body long after the reason for the stress is over.” The resulting depression and anxiety only make your telomeres shorter.
Trying to suppress thoughts and feelings makes matters worse. “The more forcefully you push your thoughts away, the louder they call out for your attention… In a small study, greater avoidance of negative feelings and thoughts was associated with shorter telomeres.”

Even lack of focus is bad for telomeres because “when people are not thinking about what they’re doing, they’re not as happy as when they’re engaged.” To reverse the harm to telomeres, try meditation and long-distance running.


Epigenetics: Can stress really change your genes?

I am posting this today because it points to what Buddhism has been saying since Buddha: The universal law of karma is real, and it affects us and our descendants for generations. Be careful what you think, as you are affecting your grandchildren’s health!

We all know that stress can wreak havoc on your health but what does it do to your genes?

Source: Epigenetics: Can stress really change your genes?

theconversation.com

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

March 15, 2016

The Dutch famine of 1944 was a terrible time for many in the Netherlands – with around 4.5m people affected and reliant on soup kitchens after food supplies were stopped from getting into the area by German blockades. As many as 22,000 people were thought to have died, and those who survived would find it extremely difficult to ever fully recover.

The dietary intake of people in affected areas was reduced from a healthy 2000 calories a day to a measly 580 – a quarter of the “normal” food intake. Unsurprisingly, without a balanced diet, children born to mothers who were pregnant during the famine showed a much lower than average birth weight.

But then something strange happened: their children’s children had the same low birth weight, despite their mother’s “normal” food and calorie intake.

On top of this, daughters of women exposed to the Dutch famine were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia than the usually calculated risk. So what was happening?

Welcome to epigenetics

We often talk about our genetic make-up and “how good” or “how healthy” our genes are. We also know “bad genes” can lead to us having a higher chance of developing a particular disease if our parents are carriers. But while scientists can look for those faulty or changed genes, over the last decade we have learned this is not the whole story.

Because it is not just our genes and DNA which determines our health, but also environmental factors such as diet, stresses, and lifestyle choices – just like in the Netherlands.

What is epigenetics?

These environmental conditions, alongside the life experiences of our parents, grandparents, and even our great-grandparents, have been shown to flip “stop” and “go” signals which regulate pretty much every process taking place in our cells. These signals can then cause changes on top of the inherited DNA molecules which can determine our well being – hence the lower birth weight of babies only distantly related to the famine.

Being human

Epigenetics takes the age-old question of “nature vs nurture” to a whole new level of scientific interest. But it is a controversial field of study with wide-reaching implications which could change everything we thought we knew about genetic inheritance.

What we do know, though, is that the environment and our nutritional intake plays a crucial role in affecting changes to our DNA – which has been demonstrated by the effects of the Dutch famine. The famine has shown how changes in epigenetic markers – the “stop” and “go” signals – are inherited, from parent to offspring and to their offspring in turn. This process is called transgenerational inheritance.

The genes affected are ones that are important in processing nutrients and are associated with diseases such as diabetes or are implicated in mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

Studies on identical twins show how the environment and trauma can change these epigenetic flags. While the siblings were genetically identical, their identical epigenetics changed over time – essentially showing how environmental factors can alter genes which are linked to depression, anxiety and obesity.

All in the genes? petarg/Shutterstock
 

Recently, studies using mice, rats, fruit flies and worms have also shown that trauma and stress can affect these epigenetic flags which then get passed on to the next generation, and then on to the next.

We know that if a female rat takes good care of her offspring, for example, then the pups are able to cope better with stress compared to rat pups that were ignored and had high levels of stress. In this instance, the removal of “stop” signals on a specific gene seems to be linked to happier offspring.

Similarly, male mice who experience stress early in their lives pass this on, even to their grand pups – which are more likely to show symptoms of anxiety and depression, even if they were looked after well and grew up in a nurturing environment.

Fixing the future?

Studies in humans are difficult to control as generally we do not have a reference value for epigenetic markers before a trauma or stress, so we cannot make easy comparisons. But what we do know is that women who were pregnant while experiencing extremely stressful situations, such as the 9/11 attacks, apparently have passed on this experience to their child.

Their children have reported experiencing depression, anxiety and poor coping mechanisms in stressful situations. Similarly, children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims often have mental health issues.

Keeping it in the family. KonstantinChristian/Shutterstock
 

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. We aren’t simply living at the mercy of our ancestors’ past lives because we do know that at least some of the epigenetic marks are reversible.

We potentially can affect our epigenetics by living a healthy lifestyle and providing our body with the necessary building blocks for these epigenetic flags.

Recent research also shows that drugs can remove negative epigenetic marks and remove “stop” signals – which has been shown to allow changed genes present in cancer, Alzheimer’s or diabetes to go back to their original state.

So while we may still be some way off fully understanding the role epigenetics plays in the “nature vs nurture” debate, one thing is clear: it’s not simply our genes that make us. So next time you’re feeling stressed or angry, or thinking about grabbing another takeaway pizza on the way home, think of your future grandchildren. It may save them a whole lot of bother.