Now without stating the obvious, this year has been absolutely horrendous for everyone’s health.
The stress of not being able to see friends and family, lack of sleep or exercise, comfort eating, the list goes on and on really.
On the face of it, some of us can take this in our stride and deal with it with no real problem, while others have real issues and aren’t coping that well.
We hate to think what the health effects of this will be in the months and years to come.
Now, you can track your steps, sleep, diet, blood pressure and a whole host of other health and fitness parameters through a plethora of wearable tech devices.
But, so what!?
Yes, you can see how active you’ve been that day, how much sleep you may or may not be getting, to how many calories you’ve eaten that day, but what are all of those different aspects both individually and collectively doing to your internal health.
Sure, they can provide you with some information that allows you to quantify certain aspects of your life, but how do you know if they are having the desired effect with regards to improving your health.
Yes, sometimes we can gauge certain health and fitness parameters or aspects from visual cues or external characteristics, but we can also misinterpret those same cues or external factors such as bigger muscles, faster running times or eating a certain type of diet as they do not necessarily equate to being healthier.
Also, these same predispositions if left unchecked could eventually go on to develop into a specific illness, disease or ailment.
Well, interestingly Muhdo can now actually see how your day to day life (such as the stress of this year) as well as your environment has affected your genes with something called “Epigenetics”.
In 2003, scientists after 13 years, finally finished sequencing the human genome, which they initially believed would show that our “Genes controlled our destiny” with a Darwinian belief that they fundamentally controlled all of our biologies.
Initially, this was a compelling argument leading many to believe that genes will be in complete control of our life no matter what.
Yes, we all come with a set of unique genetic predispositions, such as how we process our food, respond to exercise, stress or sleep. But our lifestyle and environments will affect those same genetic traits and either dilute or accentuate them in a process called Epigenetics.
Epigenetic testing is the next generation in DNA health testing.
It’s basically a change in your gene expression but not to your actual DNA sequence, as your DNA and genetic code are fixed, and they don’t actually change.
Whereas your epigenome and the way that your genes express themselves and function will be affected by your day to day life.
Epigenetics is basically the intersection’ between genetics, nutrition, and your environment and how diet, vitamins, exercise, stress and sleep can all change the methylation and expression of our genes.
DNA methylation (DNAm) is a process where tiny chemical markers called methyl groups will attach to your DNA and largely control the way that your genes function.
Methylation is basically a fancy way of saying a carbon with 3 hydrogens is added to your DNA. When methyl groups are added to a particular gene, through something called DNA methyltransferase, that gene is then turned off or silenced and no protein is made by that gene.
As we age these methyl groups will either hypo (low) or hyper (high) methylate points across your genome, which will then affect how specific genes and biological processes function, such as your eyesight, hearing and memory.
The current DNA Health testing market and the companies involved looking at your genetic code (genome) and correlations to various health traits such as your diet, exercise, sleep and stress, etc.
Your genetic risk score then gets calculated after analysing various genes and reference points called SNPs through a series of algorithms, which then provides you with your results i.e. increased risk of a vitamin deficiency, poor bone health, to possibly predisposed to staying up late and being a bit of a night owl.
But what makes Muhdo unique is that we are the only genomics company globally taking into account your diet, exercise, sleep, stress and environment aka the causation as well as understanding the foundation of genetic code.
Why do we do this? As we need to look at both nature and nurture to fully understand how to improve our health and wellbeing.
Also, the latest research has shown that your lifestyle and environment will not only affect your health but may then go on to affect your children and grandchildren in a process called “Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance”.
This is where your lifestyle experiences from your diet, exercise, sleep, stress and the pollution you have been exposed to. As well as the subsequent epigenetic information that it creates can then be passed on down to future generations, which will then either have a positive or negative effect on your child’s genetic traits and health.