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What is Mindfulness? How Mindfulness Resets Your Genes

How Mindfulness Resets Your Genes
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Research showed that the children of parents who suffered traumas and severe conditions were at increased risk of many serious diseases and disorders from the moment of conception. Physical and mental disorders could be traced back to origins four generations previous, to great-grandmothers and great grandfathers. What was once called “Junk DNA” was actually entwined with histone proteins carrying epigenetic markers that endowed each of us with distinct predispositions. Such physiological and immunological tendencies, or “traits” were learned by our ancestors. The “wisdom of the ages,” was not lost but paid forward on histone proteins.

Most of our epigenome is of great survival value, giving us affability, community, fear, anger, love, protective violence and aggression, territoriality, and a full set of instinctual drives and physiological responses. An owner’s manual, and instant advantage in survival. Some of that epigenome becomes outdated, though, some becomes disease. These same epigenetic mechanisms that are so useful, responsive and ever-adapting are also ever-sensitive to environmental toxins, psychological trauma, bad diet, and bad habits.

Impactful things you do, eat, or know today can take shape as methyl tags, imprinting your histone proteins and passing on bad traits to your offspring.

The new science of “Epi-genetics” has shown that stress responses, childhood learning, habits, diet, trauma, exercise, environmental pollutants, perhaps even beliefs, and habits of thinking can be imprinted. Molecular processes including methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation, ubiquitination, sumoylation, citrullination, and ADP-ribosylation determine how and when huge portions of our DNA are activated or silenced. Swarms of small micro-RNAs and a vast army of regulatory molecules buzz about the histone protein/DNA heterochromatin complex of our chromosomes, regulating, managing, and initiating the activity of our genes, attaching and un-attaching activator and suppressor groups of molecules. At any time in life bad habits, trauma, toxins, diet, and especially stress, can afflict this complex expression of our genes and spark disease.

Nevertheless, our DNA does not always define us; though thinking we can define it, that is, the expression of our DNA. As we choose our environments and habits of thinking we are also imprinting the histone proteins of our epigenomes. Recent research has shown that epigenetic mechanisms are susceptible to and modified by: 1.) chemicals – drug intervention or environmental toxins, 2.) electrical activity – by re-trainining brain waves, 3.) cognitive therapy – by learning to change habitual behaviors, 4.) our subsubconscious – by re-programming our ways of thinking. By attaching to either histone proteins or to the DNA double-helix itself, methyl group “tags” determine the activation or suppression of our DNA

Categories:   Brain Plasticity, Epigenetic, Epigenetics, Mind-Body, Mindfulness, Neurogenisis, Neuroplasticity

Published by

Burt Glenn

Burt Glenn

Burton Glenn is a former Biology and Chemistry Professor and world traveler. He studies and writes about the effects of aging on the body and mind, as well as his personal experiences transitioning into retirement.