In the previous articles, we first saw that we are made of trillions of cells, which form together a community in which each cell has a well-established role. The harmony of the community determines the harmony of our whole body.
It is now known that the objective is to understand the general functioning of our cells and their main needs in order to offer them the opportunity to express themselves to the best of their abilities.
If our cells function optimally, our whole body vibrates with health.
Let’s discover now the epigenetics, we will see that this new science had the effect of a tidal wave on our knowledge in biology.
It was thought for a long time that the nucleus is the control center of the cell (its brain) that governs the behavior of the cell. This traditional view of genetics is rather fatalistic, we inherit from our parents a unique genetic code and for the best as for the worse this DNA is unalterable. Certain diseases are transmitted from generation to generation like a bush fire, and are inevitable. We were placed as victims of our genes.
But today, the discovery of epigenetics literally changes our current conception of genetics. Of course, genetics and epigenetics are not in competition, these two sciences are perfectly complementary and form a single entity. Like the two pieces of a puzzle
We now have:
GENOME : it is our genetic heritage that we inherit from our parents during our conception. It is found in the DNA and is the same in all the cells of the body.
THE EPIGENOME: It represents the structure covered by the chromatin (some portions more or less active, deactivate) and that will thus reflect the organization of the cell and its differentiation. The epigenome is different according to the cells and it adjusts continuously according to its environment.
Indeed, the definition of epigenetics is:
» the modulation of the expression of our genes according to the environment »
For example: at the moment of our conception, our first cells will receive signals that are more or less different and this will allow each of them to engage in a different cellular destiny. Thus, depending on the signals they receive, each of them will produce quite different tissues (nervous tissues, muscular tissues, etc.) for ultimately forming our organism. Once the cell has found its identity (or differentiation), the structure of its chromatin is maintained by epigenetic marks.
Now, if we remove a muscle stem cell to place it in an environment of bone cells, it will develop into bone cells. Why ?
The environment determines the cell’s organization.
The epigenetic marks are different types of molecular components that modify the 3D configuration of the DNA by binding along a gene to activate it or make it silent (acetylation, methylation, etc.).
These molecular components are predominantly of protein nature. Remember what has been said about proteins: they change structure according to the signals they receive, so a gene will be activated or deactivated depending on the form of the protein (which depends on its environment).
In order for a gene to lead to the synthesis of a protein, it must be readable, that is to say accessible to different protein complexes involved in this process.
To make it simple :
– If access to the gene is restricted, extinct, inactive : there is no expression of the gene.
– If its access is open, active, on : there is expression of the gene.
- Obviously, gene expression is not a process where the genes are either activated or inactive, for example, genes can be very active, overexpressed (with an important synthesis) or partially repressed (with very low synthesis).
Of course, these marks are not fixed! Life is a fluid movement, and we are constantly recomposing and reshaping ourselves.
If we compare the DNA to a magnetic tape of a cassette in which each gene corresponds to a track recorded on the tape, epigenetic changes would be pieces of repositionable adhesive tapes that will mask or unmask some tracks, making them illegible or legible.
And it is not a question of chance, the reading of the genes is selective. Our behavior, our state of health, the strength of our bones, all this is determined by our biological and epigenetic reality. Biological reality that is in turn shaped by the environment.
For example: bees are all born with the same genetic heritage, yet if a larva is fed exclusively with royal jelly, it will become a queen (bigger, lays a lot of eggs and has a much longer lifespan than worker Bees).
It is also important to highlight the fact that these epigenetic marks are hereditary. That is, by adopting a healthy lifestyle, it will have a tremendous impact on the constitution of our children. Moreover, with increasingly distorted lifestyles, this could largely explain the congenital diseases and malformations that are happening more and more.
In short! This means that we are the creators of our lives. We are responsible for our health. In other words: We are the main artisans of our health. It’s fantastic.
MECHANISMS OF THE CELL
If you want to learn more about the mechanisms of the cell in relation to its environment, I invite you to read my article on Biology of beliefs which is a chronicle of the work of the biologist Bruce Lipton. A pioneer of epigenetics who has demonstrated that our thoughts and beliefs have a real impact on our biology and therefore our health.
The Epigenetics, a wonderful discovery of the last few years, proves what wise men have said for thousands of years: a healthy lifestyle is the key to good health.
Remember the famous quote from Hippocrates: « Let your food be your medicine »
The expression of our genes and therefore the behavior of our cells adjust continuously in response to its environment. And so our entire physiological processes and our health are determined by the environment of our cells.
Thus, in order for our cells to function optimally, their environment must be balanced and healthy.
It’s all well and good! But what is the environment of our cells? This is the subject of the next article: The Cell 5/5: Environment of the cell.
In the meantime, do not forget that we are the main artisans of our health, so it’s all up to you !
The body is a temple and it is up to you to improve your hygiene of life to thus benefit all your cells of a healthier environment. See you right away in the next article. 😉
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