Epigenetics is the study of genetic variations that are caused within an individual, by external or environmental factors that can switch genes on and off, as opposed to changes in DNA sequence which happen as genes are passed down to the next generation. One of the most potent ways epigenetics can change is through nutrition.  In fact, one of the main reasons good nutrition is so important is because healthy food choices will minimize the expression of disease-causing genes we may have inherited. Unlike behavior or stress, diet is one of the more easily studied, and therefore better understood, environmental factors in epigenetic change. The nutrients we extract from food enter metabolic pathways where they are broken down, modified, and assembled into molecules the body can use. One such pathway is responsible for making methyl groups (CH3), which interact with important epigenetic tags that silence genes. Familiar nutrients like folic acid, B vitamins, and SAM-e (S-Adenosyl methionine, a popular over-the-counter supplement) are key components of this methyl-making pathway. Diets high in these methyl-donating nutrients can rapidly alter gene expression, especially...

Here’s a link to the article on NPR (http://n.pr/1lrRnq3   Given, the current agreement is, that there is 10 : 1 ratio of bacteria in our microbiome to cells in our body. There appears to be 10 times more viruses (bacteriophages) in the microbiome than bacteria. This is in terms of genetic material.   “In the 1920s and 1930s, before widespread use of antibiotics, physicians successfully treated a variety of infections with bacteriophages, or phages for short. These natural viral predators, which target bacteria but leave mammalian and plant cells unscathed, were sold by pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly & Company1 and even made it into the fiction of the time—the protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’ 1925 book Arrowsmith fought bubonic plague with phages.”   Globe-Trotting Virus Hides Inside People’s Gut Bacteria New viruses are a dime a dozen. Every few months, we hear about a newly discovered flu virus that’s jumped from birds to people somewhere in the world. And the number of viruses identified in bats is “extraordinary and appears to increase almost daily,” scientists wrote last year in the journal PLOS Pathogens. But a virus that has...

New research is revealing something remarkable about why the body sweats. Beyond its obvious role in regulating body temperature, sweating has been found to facilitate the elimination of accumulated heavy metals and petrochemicals, indicating that if we want to be healthy we should put regular effort into doing more sweating.  Sweating has long been known as a source of bodily, if not also spiritual “cleansing.” But until recently, very little ‘scientific’ confirmation existed proving that using heat and/or exercise to facilitate perspiration-induced detoxification actually works the way that many natural health advocates claim.

By MICHAEL MOSS Published: February 20, 2013   On the evening of April 8, 1999, a long line of Town Cars and taxis pulled up to the Minneapolis headquarters of Pillsbury and discharged 11 men who controlled America’s largest food companies. Nestlé was in attendance, as were Kraft and Nabisco, General Mills and Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Mars. Rivals any other day, the C.E.O.’s and company presidents had come together for a rare, private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it. While the atmosphere was cordial, the men assembled were hardly friends. Their stature was defined by their skill in fighting one another for what they called “stomach share” — the amount of digestive space that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition.       

The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) – How Antioxidants Really Protect Against Stroke and Dementia – By Jaimie Dalessio – (Thursday, February 21, 2013) – The protective power of antioxidants against stroke and dementia may have less to do with your total dietary intake of antioxidants and more to do with the specific foods that contribute to your antioxidant level, new research suggests. Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam in the Netherlands analyzed health and dietary information on 5,395 people aged 55 and older who were part of the long-term Rotterdam Study of medical conditions and other factors in older adults.

Q: I take one regular aspirin a day and a small dose of a beta blocker to regulate the electrical impulses in my heart.  I’ve been told that these medicines are compromising my intestinal and liver function.  I’d like to discontinue the pharmaceuticals completely.  Is that possible to do safely? Jenny M-Y, Bellingham WA A: Hi Jenny, I’m pleased you are interested in natural approaches to health care.  You bring up several important issues.  First, while you can most likely safely discontinue aspirin immediately, you need to wean off the beta-blocker more slowly. Beta-blockers are the “first generation” of drugs used mostly to control high blood pressure, because they block the “beta-adrenergic”, or adrenaline, receptors in the heart tissue.  Adrenaline is an extremely potent vasoconstrictor, so blocking adrenaline means the tissue stays more relaxed (not constricting).  In your case, the beta-blocker is being used to regulate the electrical impulses, which is a different story.  The heart is an amazing organ with both electrical and plumbing functions.  The plumbing is of course the pumping of the oxygenated blood around the body.  Each...