Our DNA’s genetic code dictates much of who we are both physically and mentally. Genetics is also a determinant of health – good or poor. Inherited genetic conditions can be caused by a single-gene defect or by complex factors including multiple genes and impacted by lifestyle and environmental factors.
Earlier this month I wrote about epigenetics: the impact it has on our health and the possible connections later in life to diseases such as osteoporosis. Unlike our genetic makeup that is “hardwired”, our epigenome (the way our genes are regulated and/or expressed) is malleable and can be influenced by the way we live.
In fact, recent findings published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research by researchers involved in the Southampton Women’s Survey at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom show that poor intrauterine and childhood growth may affect the epigenetic regulation of genes associated with bone development. The lead author of the study, Nicholas Harvey, stated “The health of a child’s bone when they are young can influence the risk of osteoporosis in older age.”
By eating better and making wise lifestyle choices, especially early in life, we can influence our epigenome and prevent certain diseases from manifesting.
Curtis, E.M., et al. Perinatal DNA methylation at CDKN2A is associated with offspring bone mass: Findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey. JBMR. April 17, 2017. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3153.