What Is an Epigenetic Test?

Epigenetic testing is a way to measure the effects of our environment on the body at the cellular level. This test looks at markers in our cells that have been affected by heavy metals, foods and additives, and other environmental factors. It can help us understand how these factors shape our bodies over time, allowing us to develop a personalized nutritional plan that addresses our unique needs.

This test measures certain markers in the body that are indicators of how environmental influences change us at the cellular level. By knowing these markers, we can better understand how they affect our health. We can then design tailored plans based on this information. Epigenetic information has revolutionized the way we view health and wellness because it allows a more precise and personalized approach to each patient with data that was previously unavailable.

What Is Epigenetics?

It is the branch of biology that studies the factors that interact between genes and their products that determine the phenotype. The science that studies the changes in gene expression and function due to environmental factors, without alterations in the DNA sequence, affecting only the phenotype and not the genotype, and may be reversible and heritable.

It is the global information of an organism. Epigenetic states play an important role in the pathogenesis of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular, metabolic, obesity, autoimmune, inflammatory, cancer and the aging process. Epigenetics is fundamental in the development, origin of health and disease.

Understanding Epigenetics

The term epigenetics was coined by Waddington in 19391, who defined it as “the study of all events leading to the unfolding of the genetic program of development” or the complex “developmental process that mediates between genotype and phenotype”. In recent decades, his approaches have been taken up in a new perspective. The fundamental role that the extranuclear, extracellular and social environment plays in the modulation of gene activity is now recognized. Simple additive models that suggest that the phenotype is the sum of the effects of genes and the environment do not provide an answer to reality. It is proposed that genetic systems are dynamic or cybernetic.

In this regard, researchers have shown how socioeconomic level modifies the heritability of IQ in a non-linear way. These authors, in contrast to the approach of others, showed that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is attributable to the environment; on the contrary, in families with high socioeconomic status, 60% of the variance in IQ is attributable to the environment. families with high socioeconomic status, 60% of the variance is attributable to genetic potential.

Epigenetics is currently defined as the study of changes in gene function that are heritable by mitosis and/or meiosis, that do not involve a modification in the DNA sequence and that can be reversible.

DNA sequence modifications have been classically termed “mutations” and epigenetic modifications “epimutations”. Epigenetic programming defines the state of gene expression (epigenetic state). epigenetic state). This can be altered by various environmental conditions that will influence the phenotype of an organism and its behavior. Thus, epimutations, being influenced by the environment and being reversible, open a wide field for prevention and treatment interventions.

Science and Biotechnology

What is 98% of our DNA?

Genes make up only a small part of the genome, 1 to 2%, the rest being composed of intergenic regions that do not code for proteins.

Each of the more than 200 cell types in the body interprets this identical information very differently to perform the functions necessary to keep us alive. This shows that we must look beyond the DNA sequence itself to understand how an organism and its cells function.

Our DNA comprises various elements, with genes accounting for only 1-2% of the genome. The remaining 98% consists of intergenic regions that do not code for proteins. Despite having identical genetic information, our bodies contain over 200 cell types, each interpreting this information uniquely to perform vital functions that sustain life. Understanding cellular and organismal functions necessitates exploring beyond the DNA sequence itself.

The Science Behind Epigenetics

Epigenetics explains how experiences can alter gene activity without interfering with DNA sequence. It is also responsible for the inheritance of various traits and the ability to transmit these traits over several generations. Many people call this cellular memory. Previously, it was believed that epigenetic transformations took place only at the initial stage of an organism’s formation and were not observed in adulthood. Everything changed at the end of the 20th century, when there was a revolution in the genetic view; it became very clear that these changes occur constantly and affect our lives.

How Experiences Affect Our Genetic Expression

One of the most studied mechanisms of epigenetic regulation of gene activity is the methylation process, which consists of the addition of a methyl group to cytosolic DNA bases.

Methylation is an important process for our genes at different times in our lives, and conditions that interfere with methylation can cause us harm in the future. For example, during pregnancy, it is very important to consume folic acid along with vitamin B12 and the amino acid methionine, which serves as a donor-provider of methyl groups necessary for the normal flow of methylation, otherwise the risk of pathologies in the baby increases.

Another good example: regular consumption of green tea reduces the risk of cancer, as it contains a substance called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can activate genes that inhibit tumor growth by demethylating their DNA sites.

Methylation Process

Our genetic information is encoded in the bases of the DNA sequence. Inside cells, DNA is wrapped around proteins called histones. DNA free of histones allows its genes to be turned on. In turn, genes coiled around histones are turned off.

One of the ways to inactivate a given gene is to attach a small methyl group to it. This involves the enzyme DNMT binding to the DNA and transferring the methyl group to the base of the cytosine, which is wound onto the DNA strand (this usually occurs in areas where the guanine follows the cytosine).

DNA methylation is a process in which, under certain environmental conditions, a certain part of the genes is turned on or off without changing the DNA structure. The gene remains the same, but its expression, i.e. its activity, changes.

What Is Gene Expression?

To better appreciate epixlife®’s objective, it is first necessary to understand what we mean by gene expression. Genes encode the information needed to produce proteins, which are the molecules that perform functions in the cell.

How much protein a given gene ultimately produces, or whether it is allowed to produce protein at all, is determined by its gene expression or activity.

If the cell is expending energy to produce RNA from DNA, it is probably being used for something. Proteins that bind to DNA influence the expression of a gene, and chemical modifications of DNA can also prevent or enhance gene expression.

Why Do We Use Hair as a Biomarker?

The functional complexity of hair follicles makes it a perfect source to provide comprehensive results based on their bioinformation.

The hair erector muscle or piloerector constantly detects not only changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure, but also the vibrations and frequencies of the ecosystem and the surrounding area.

It reacts instantaneously to changes and threats in the environment, causing the hair to “bristle” and relax when the environment is calm. It expands and contracts when the system overheats or cools, therefore, the cells contained in the hair bulb store bioinformation as it is connected to the arrector pili muscle.

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