Genes: Your Health guide

Genes: Your Health guide image

Genes: Why They Are the Guidebook to Your Health

To understand the role DNA plays in your genetic predisposition to a number of conditions you first need to understand what DNA is made up of. The smaller units of DNA we will look at in this article, are your genes and the role they play in making you exactly who you are. This will provide a better understanding of how a gene-smart lifestyle can improve your level of wellness and allow you to live a healthier life.

What is a Gene?

The genetics similarity between any human and another human is 99.9%, our uniqueness lies in only 0.1% of our DNA. A gene is a unit contained within a strand of DNA on a chromosome. A gene contains the basic instructions to pass traits from parent to offspring and other functions, but also make proteins that instructs the body what to do. A gene is a number of nucleotides, e.g. 100, that codes for a protein. 

Each protein carries out a unique function. Each cell has forty-six strands of DNA (23 from mom and 23 from dad) contained within it and each of these strands is made up of millions of particles. These particles are nucleotides, which are grouped into either A (Adenine), C (Cytosine), T (Thymine) or G (Guanine).

Each stretch of DNA has a specific sequence of A, C, T and G nucleotides, which store the information of each gene for the cell to read and use in order to determine the cell’s function within the body and make proteins that instructs the body what to do, e.g. break down lactose.

The information contained in these strands allow genes to make proteins to a particular standard and structure to serve different purposes. The specifically coded proteins then interact with chemicals and other proteins in the body in order to determine how everything in your body reacts, functions and appears. Everything from your eye colour, how your body deals with chemicals, medicines, toxins, how it repairs cells and DNA damage, how quickly you will recover from intense exercise, how your body deals with inflammation and stress, whether you metabolise fat well or will lose weight easily, or the opposite, all of these things and more are controlled by your genes and DNA.

DNA and Your Health

Genetic variations account for different phenotypes (the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.and diverse responses to the environment between individuals and it is these differences that might alter the way your body functions, making you different compared to your neighbor or even your sibling, and might put you at a higher risk of developing certain disease conditions, or make you lose weight slower, or makes you have to train twice as long, etc.

Simply because these are the cards you have been dealt, does not mean that you should surrender and become the victim of your genes, on the contrary, knowing what gene variations you have gives you the advantage to change the expression of those genes on a cellular level by making changes to your diet, your supplements, how you exercise, manage stress and go about your daily life. You can truly personalise your lifestyle to optomise health!

Once you have gathered this information with the help of DNA testing to compile a genetic profile you can address your current medical concerns. You can now use physical assessment and nutrition analysis in order to minimise the lifestyle factors which could worsen any genetic predispositions you may have.

Contact Jacky Hattingh to find out more about yourself than you thought possible to live your healthiest life.


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