EDITION: December - February 2012

CO-CREATE YOUR HEALTH. Beyond the myth of DNA

Texto: Jerry Brownstein

Since Crick and Watson discovered the DNA molecule in 1953, conventional science has been focused on the idea that everything in our physical lives is controlled by our genes. According to this theory of genetic determinism if you have the gene for a certain disease or condition then it is highly likely that you will get it at some point in your life. But what if the real truth were otherwise? What if it could be shown that we actually have the power to influence the actions of our genes? These are the findings of the relatively new science of epigenetics which actually means “above genetics”. Mounting evidence has proven that the way genes express themselves in our bodies is not predetermined by our DNA, but is in fact controlled and modified by our lifestyle choices and by our perception of the world around us.

Every cell in your body has the exact same DNA in its nucleus, but the genes in that DNA cannot do anything by themselves – they are merely the plans or blueprints for creating changes in your body. What activates and controls these gene “blueprints” is the environment that surrounds the cells, so if we change that environment we change the way our bodies work. One important way that we can control that environment is by eating healthy food and avoiding toxins. When you do this it sends a chemical signal to your DNA telling it to choose gene “blueprints” that promote health and well being. So modifying your diet and lifestyle can help to manage the way your genes act, but perhaps the greatest influence on the behavior of your genes comes from the way you perceive the world around you.
Remember, it is the environment surrounding your cells that chooses which genes will be activated. Your brain is always sending chemicals into your blood to influence that environment (hormones, peptides, etc.), but it is your perception that tells the brain which types of chemicals to release. When you are feeling positive emotions such as joy, gratitude and love your brain is instructed to flood your system with endorphins and other beneficial chemicals. These “happy hormones” travel through the blood to all of your cells instructing the DNA to activate genes that strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy. By contrast, when your perception causes you to feel stressed or fearful the brain releases “Flight or Fight” chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals instruct the DNA to choose genes that shut your body down to prepare it for danger. This weakens your immune system and has a damaging effect on your cells which eventually leads to physical problems and illness. Dr. Bruce Lipton, a leading expert on epigenetics, puts it this way:

Thus our perceptions create much of the chemical environment that activates our genes, but the story does not end there. The latest research has shown that our perceptions also create vibrational energy which plays a role in controlling our DNA. Every emotion that you have sends vibrations throughout your body, and these vibrations influence which of your genes will be activated. Emotions that are linked to fear and stress activate genes that lead to illness while those associated with joy and peace promote good health. Once again it is your perception, as reflected in your emotions, which creates the vibrations that affect the behavior of your genes. 
Interesting proof of how this works comes from scientific studies which have shown that our DNA actually changes shape according to the way we feel. When we are feeling positive emotions like love, peace and compassion our DNA responds by relaxing and unwinding its strands, and this strengthens our immune system. However, when we have negative feelings such as fear, anger or hate our DNA contracts and tightens thus weakening the immune system. What is really amazing is that these effects occur even when your DNA is separated from your body. In these experiments DNA samples were taken from the people being tested and brought to another location several kilometers away. These people were then exposed to emotional stimuli and their DNA in the distant location reacted instantly – opening when their emotions were positive, and contracting when they were negative. The vibrations created by your emotions are so powerful and so connected to your DNA that they cause it to react even when separated from your body by a great distance. Think about that the next time you get angry!

For over 50 years we have been led to believe that we are powerless victims who must meekly accept the genetic cards that we have been dealt, but those days are over. Merely having the gene related to some illness or condition does not mean that we will suffer that fate because genes by themselves cannot initiate changes in our bodies. Epigenetics has empowered us with the knowledge that our thoughts and feelings, as colored by our perceptions, have a great influence on which genes will be activated. This means that we are the co-creators of our own health with the power to change the behavior of our genes simply by transforming our perceptions. Every moment presents us with the opportunity to make conscious choices that can shape our physical reality, and when we choose to fill our thoughts and feelings with positive emotions our bodies respond with vibrant health and vitality.