Epigenetics: Can You Turn Off “Bad” Genes?

Dr. Dominique Fradin-Read
2 min readSep 23, 2021
Epigenetics: Can You Turn Off “Bad” Genes?

Epigenetics is “the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work.” Epigenetic changes alter the body’s DNA sequence–they regulate whether genes are turned on or off. These alterations are linked to the expression of some genes on the DNA without necessarily changing the sequence of DNA building blocks. Genes are “passed from parents to offspring and contain the information needed to specify traits.” These are the information stored in the DNA of parents that naturally get passed over to their children–eye, hair, and skin color are the most obvious gene expressions.

Genes vs. Epigenetics

How epigenetics affects the health of offspring is an entirely different subject. If your parents had chronic diseases, then you may be born with certain genes that will link to those chronic diseases. This does not entirely mean that you will also have the same chronic disease; it highly depends on your lifestyle. While you are born with that gene sequence, the expression of your own genes changes based on your nutrition, lifestyle, and environment; these highly influence whether you will inherit that disease.

It can be analyzed as nature and nurture. Genes do not dictate your fate. You cannot change genes but you can control their function and your epigenetic tags. According to MedLine Plus, “because epigenetic changes help determine whether genes are turned on or off, they influence the production of proteins in cells. This regulation helps ensure that each cell produces only proteins that are necessary for its function.” Epigenetic changes are maintained from cell to cell, similar to how a domino works– we know that these changes can even be preserved through following generations. DNA methylation is a common type of epigenetic modification that “involves the attachment of small chemical groups called methyl groups (each consisting of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) to DNA building blocks. When methyl groups are present on a gene, that gene is turned off or silenced, and no protein is produced from that gene.”

Epigenetic changes are based on your lifestyle–the goal is to learn how nurture your body despite having “bad” genes. This is the way your genes and your environment communicate with one another. By following a healthy diet, having an active lifestyle, and reducing exposure to chemicals, you can turn off “bad” genes.

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Dr. Dominique Fradin-Read

Website: http://www.vitalifemd.com/ Dominique Fradin-Read, M.D., M.P.H., is board-certified in preventative and anti-aging medicine.