Tanya Smith

Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Cultivate the soil before planting the seed

Lifestyle Choices Can Change Your Genes

Chinese Medicine practitioners like myself will often encourage (or insist!) that our clients make changes to their lifestyle to help bring their bodies back into balance and support our treatments. We often suggest eating different foods, exercising your body and making more time to relax.

When asked how these changes will help, we start to talk about something that sounds like weather, about clearing heat or nourishing moisture, or alternately clearing dampness and boosting heat…

So I have been looking for a good way to explain how lifestyle changes make a difference in a way that is easy to relate to. And I think I have found it in epigenetics.

Dr. David Rakel MD explains, “Epigenetics means ‘around the gene’ or if you will, the soup in which we bathe our genes that is determined by human choice. We are the cooks of our soup that influences if our genes are healthy or diseased.”

Even if you are genetically predisposed to a condition, your behavior and environment can affect how those genes are expressed, and how they are translated into health or disease.

This has profound significance in the area of infertility or sub-fertility. The soup we are bathing our potential eggs and sperm in has an effect on their development into healthy gametes that are more likely to lead to a healthy pregnancy.

But what’s even more incredible to think about is the difference you can make in the genetic make-up of your offspring in the next generation. You can set them up for a healthier start.

So when you look at the list of suggestions from your Chinese Medicine practitioner about foods to include in your diet, what we are doing is helping to turn on the genes that will help make you more fertile. It might make it easier to take our advice!

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