Your DNA tells a story and can transform your health. We celebrate DNA Day on April 25 every year to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953.
But DNA Day (and every subsequent day) is more than just a nod at the incredible scientists advancing research in health and medicine. It’s the perfect opportunity for YOU to take control of your own wellbeing by taking time to understand how your DNA impacts your life—and how you can hack your genes for improved health and vitality.
Let’s take a dive into how advancements in DNA research impact you, and what you can do to take your wellness to the next level.
What is the Human Genome Project?
DNA Day is the celebration of the completion of the Human Genome Project. The Human Genome Project was an international, collaborative research project that identified and mapped all of the known human genes. It specified where these genes are in the sequence and their purpose from a physical and functional standpoint. This project has completely revolutionized the way we understand genes, health, and medicine.
Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, stated: “The genome is a history book—a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It’s a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it’s a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent, and cure disease.”
The Human Genome Project set in motion a new wave of studies looking at how individual genes play a role in physical traits, behaviors, and risk of disease. More researchers began to realize the impact that genetics has on health, especially with regards to risk of chronic illness.
Without this project, I likely wouldn’t be able to help my clients in the profound way I am able to currently through my genetics coaching. Now that we have more information about genetics and epigenetics, and now that we have more researchers participating in genetic studies, advancements are ever deepening our understanding of hacking our genes to improve wellness, lengthen lifespans, and taking health to a new dimension. I owe my work and the success of my clients to the Human Genome Project!
What is DNA?
Most people have a basic understanding of DNA, but genetics is a complicated subject that necessitates a little extra explanation. So let’s get into it just a little.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is essentially your hereditary material. Almost every cell in your body has your unique DNA sequence tucked away in its cells. There are over 3 billion bases in human DNA, and 99% of those bases are the same for all humans. It’s the sequence of that last 1% that makes us all unique and inimitable!
Genes are made up of DNA. Each gene has its own function. For example, some genes code for proteins like muscles and tissues, while others determine physical or behavioral traits. The Human Genome Project estimates that humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. You have two copies from each gene, one inherited from each parent.
Genes make up chromosomes. Most people have 23 chromosomes. The chromosome is basically the structure of DNA, which is tightly coiled around histone proteins.
You don’t really need to remember all of this. What you really need to take is this: your genes are complicated. Little DNA strands make up genes that coil together into a chromosome, which sits in every cell nucleus. Different cells activate different genes, which is how your cells can have different functions (like hair proteins versus blood cells) while keeping in alignment with your basic genetic structure.
And your DNA is just the start. Your genetic sequence is the blueprint for your body and health, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s where your epigenetics comes in.
What is epigenetics?
Epigenetics is how your genes are expressed, controlled by the activation or deactivation by certain lifestyle factors.
For years, people thought that genetics were unchangeable or that it took multiple generations and random mutations to change your genes. More research on epigenetics tells us that’s not the case, though. The genetic blueprint is passed down, but the expression of those genes can change throughout the course of your life. You could actually have a different genetic expression at different points in your life!
Here’s how it works. Certain external factors can turn your genes “off” or “on,” usually through DNA methylation. Methylation refers to the addition of a methyl group to a DNA strand, basically flipping a switch that turns it into the “off” position (usually). Methylation can be positive on some genes, and it can have a negative effect on others. For example, you’ll want an increase in methylation (deactivation) on those genes that cause tumor growth. But you’d want a decrease in methylation (activation) on genes that suppress tumor growth. So a risk of cancer can be programmed into your DNA, but epigenetics tell your DNA whether to express that risk or not.
Where do methylation and other epigenetic changes come from? Diet, stress, sleep, exercise, thought patterns, behaviors, and other lifestyle factors can all impact the expression of your genes.
There is a lot that goes into epigenetics. It’s an entire field of research with a lot of moving parts. You can start delving in a little deeper to learn more here: What Is Epigenetics And Why Do You Care?
More epigenetics resources to check out:
- Epigenetics Series: What Should You Eat For Your Body Type
- Epigenetics Series: Can Working Out Change Your Genes?
- Epigenetics Series: How To Sleep For Better Health
- Epigenetics Series: How Does Stress Affect Our Genes?
- Epigenetics Series: Is Cancer Related To Your DNA?
- Epigenetic Series: Is Porn Addiction Genetic?
What can I do about my genes?
The Human Genome Project gave us the foundation we need to understand how genes and sequences impact health. It told us which genes need to be activated in order to protect us from disease, and which need to be deactivated in order to ward off potential health complications.
Research on epigenetics has furthered this understanding to tell us that our genes are never static. We can actually control how we activate and deactivate these genes.
That means YOU are in control of your health.
Your genetic sequence tells you where you came from, and your epigenetics tells you where you’re going. So let’s use that to our advantage! What can you do about your genes to bring you the health and life you crave?
1. Acknowledge any harmful habits.
We all have bad habits. Maybe you sit on the couch all day Saturday and do nothing. Maybe you smoke when you’re anxious. Maybe you stress about little things. Maybe you pull an all-nighter when you have a project at work.
These small habits can and do add up, and they can appear in the form of negative gene expression.
Before you start making any lifestyle changes to hack your DNA, I want you to take a look at how you’re living your life now. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. The goal is simply to understand where your current level of health is coming from.
If you want to make a change, you have to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle. Only you can make the change.
2. Discover your genetic sequence.
Your genes are uniquely yours. That means no two health plans are going to be the same. When you go into a doctor’s office, they usually only have the ability to give you a cookie-cutter plan based on your general health as it stands. But you need more than that in order to be healthy. You need a deep understanding of your health on a genetic level to ensure you’re making the right lifestyle choices for your body.
I recommend getting a professional genetics test accompanied by a comprehensive consultation with a genetics coach. This gives you data of your test results, but it also takes it one step further to understand exactly what that data is trying to tell you about your health.
Understanding is the first step to resolution and growth!
The best part about professional genetics coaching is that your data is secure. No leaks or sold data, like some of these genetic tests! The other best part? You get a customized plan built just for you, and you can track and analyze results accordingly.
3. Start hacking.
Now that you know your genes and what that means for your health… you can take massive action to improve. It’s not actually that hard to hack your genetic expression once you know what it looks like. You might need to tweak your nutrition, adjust your workouts, and bump up your sleep—but it comes down to unassuming lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference in your short-term and long-term health.
Talk to a genetics coach about designing an effective plan to hack your genes and unlock your wellness.
There’s no better time to take your genes to the next level than DNA day!
Going deeper into DNA
DNA is cool. I think it’s awesome that you’ve read this article, and you’re eager to take control of your health. It’s the men that equip themselves with knowledge and then take action on that knowledge that live healthy, long, vital lives. I’m excited that you’re part of that determined group of men taking your life, energy, and vitality to the next level.
Want more participation? Of course you do. Because you’re always striving or more. You want to delve deeper and start hacking your genes, so you can prevent risk of disease, revitalize your energy, and renew your vitality.
If you’re one of those powerful men looking to renew and restore your life, you should be on the path of lifestyle health program. With my suite, I test your DNA, interpret the results, and come up with a customized plan that’s specific to YOUR individual genes and lifestyle. We’ll work together to come up with a health strategy that will improve every area of your life from your health and energy to your professional productivity to your personal relationships.
It’s time for you to get in the driver’s seat of your health. With my genetics coaching plan, we’ll gas up your car, rev the engine, and zoom off.
Click here to learn more about the lifelong benefits of a personalized genetics consultation and epigenetic coaching program.
I look forward to hearing from you to revolutionize and revitalize your life and vitality. Let’s celebrate DNA day the best way by hacking your DNA and taking your health to the next level.
Schedule a consultation to learn how understanding your DNA can help you lose weight, gain energy and even have a better sex life.
Ready to take the next steps?
In Male 2.0™, Dr. Tracy Gapin has turned everything we once thought we knew about men’s health and performance upside down. The old model of how to be “a man” is broken. A man who works himself to death. Unfortunately, a man who tries to NOT get sick but isn’t really healthy either. And a man who takes a pill for every ill but is never really cured. That was Male 1.0. Now, imagine being THE MAN ─ owning your performance in the bedroom, the weight room, and the boardroom. Living a fully optimized life. Becoming limitless. This is Male 2.0!
Tracy Gapin, MD, FACS is a board-certified Urologist, world renowned Men’s Health & Performance Expert, Author, and Professional Speaker. Using state-of-the-art biometric monitoring, nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Dr. Gapin coaches Fortune 500 executives and evolutionary leaders of business, sports medicine, and high performance. He specializes in cutting-edge precision medicine with an emphasis on epigenetics, providing men with a personalized path to optimizing health & performance. www.GapinInstitute.com
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