Understanding Epigenetics

The baby is conceived as an idea, a desire in the parent’s mind; a fleeting wish, arising from perhaps simple biology or something bigger. We may now log this under many headings like body clock or planning a baby, starting a family or any other rationale that justifies “it’s time to have a child”. As soon as this idea comes, men and women begin to prepare for the baby.

One of the first steps to take is to take an interest in our own health. Eating right, detoxifying, and exercising. Perhaps everyone understands this. The germ cells, the cells that will become the sperm and the ovum are affected by lifestyle, stress and nutrition. While we should aspire for good health for ourselves each day, understanding the underlying phenomenon through the lens of epigenetics, it becomes easier for us to make good choices when we are getting ready for the baby.

Up until the end of the last century, we thought that genes determined who we are and we got half of that set from our mother and the other half from our father. It was only when we understood how gene coding was reprinted and expressed that we understood how the environment played a huge part in how our genes would work for us.

We now know that each cell of our body is in working in collaboration to give the entire cell community that is us the best chance of survival by adaptation. The environment influence there for change epigenetic marker, like an on-off switch to change how the code is read when new cells are being formed. Another way the change can occur is the way the code is wound together and what is available to be read almost like what will be copied on a photocopier when we cover certain parts of the document.

Each of these processes uses the current signals from the current environment. For the germ cell in its time of maturation, the three month period prior to conception can be the time of intake of the environment read in terms of nutrition, biochemical and neurochemicals.

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