Epigenetics: How Meditation Upgrades Gene Expression, Slows Cancer
Harnessing Epigenetics: How Meditation Curates Gene Expression
Human Potential: Are Mom & Dad The Limit?
The biggest finding since Swiss chemist Johann Friedrich Miescher’s discovery of DNA, Epigenetics is an emerging field of study with monumental implications.
As the code your body uses for building and rebuilding itself, your out-of-the-womb DNA double helix blueprint contains 23 chromosome pairs, with around 22,300 (identified) genes.
If we are all pre-programmed with a gene map, then is our potential "set" at birth? Can we change the overwhelming will of Mother Nature?
Yes. According to recent Epigenetic discoveries, in terms of who and what we are, nature dominates nurture. There is a quiet scientific revolution now rewriting biology books.
How Meditation Transcends Genetics
While we all have an at-birth set of genes, there is a layer above our DNA sequence which is ultimately responsible for which genes get expressed and which ones stay dormant.
While your family tree is full of heart disease and cancer, you can, like the light switch in your bedroom, turn off those genes which have your "fate" in their crosshairs.
With this new paradigm, we become what we eat, what become we drink, and we become our level of physical activity. We can win the health lottery not through our parents, but through our thoughts and actions.
Then, how do we harness this incredible power?
Meditation. The best way to rewrite nature’s blueprint, meditation is renowned for its ability to alter gene expression. Here are a few ways this is done:
How Meditation "Unexpresses" Cancer
Dr. Dean Ornish and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco had a group of low-risk prostate cancer survivors practice an hour long meditative breathing exercise. What did they find?
By decreasing the expression of cancer associated genes (RAN, RAB14, & RAB8A), they discovered that meditation could actually "molecularly mitigate" and "silence" the processes which play a role in developing cancer.
If you like complex science words, another study found that mindfulness had exerted powerful "global influence" (histone modification) on the "chief regulators" (H4 pan-acetyl and histone H3 trim ethyl Lys4) responsible for cancerous tumor formation and development.
While more studies are needed, when it comes to meditation's never ending list of benefits, it certainly appears that the "Big C" is included.
Note: If you are looking for more ways meditation upgrades gene expression, then see the following articles on our website: Telomeres & Longevity, Chronic Inflammation, and Beyond Probiotics: The "Gut-Brain Axis".
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