The cover of time magazine last week featured an article on Epigenetics.  An Epigene is something that kind of piggybacks on top of a gene and has the ability to make the gene turn on or off.  Scientists are finding that our DNA is not necessarily our destiny as we have the ability to turn genes, for certain characteristics, on and off.    This kind of throws the nurture vs. nature question out the window and resoundingly argues for the fact that both play are roll in the fate of our health and of our children's heath.

The thrust of the Time Magazine article was that lifestyle choices such as overeating and smoking altered the epigene in such a way that people with these altered epigenes and their offspring, (and their offspring’s, offspring’s), were at greater risk for cardiovascular risks as adults.  This is revolutionary information for two reasons.  The first is that what our parents did regarding diet, drugs, tobacco, etc absolutely affects us.  The second reason is that we now know that we have the ability to turn the genes that cause these poor outcomes on and off by way of our diets and lifestyles.

One study done on mice with a genetic predisposition to obesity and diabetes found that giving these mice a diet rich in Vitamin B was able to "turn off” the genetic expression of the diabetes/obesity gene.  The offspring of these treated mice were not prone to diabetes or obesity.  In other words, without removing the ‘bad’ genes these scientists were able to change the genetic risk factors in these mice.

This is especially important for those of us with ADHD as it is thought that genetics plays a huge roll in this condition.  ADHD is though to be more inheritable than ANY other mental health condition.  Scientists are looking into medicines that have the capacity of turning off the epigenes that may play a roll in autism and schizophrenia.  Research into the epigenes involved in ADHD cannot be far behind.

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