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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kari Young

Is Your Genetics - or Epigenetics?

One of the greatest misconceptions I hear is that chronic health conditions are not reversible because they are caused by genetics. This is what many people have been taught and what they believe. In other words, what your parents, grandparents, and aunts or uncles had, your destiny is to have a similar disease.

Genetics says that our genes are predestined for us and not changeable. Epigenetics says we can influence our genes to have prevention and longevity.

Epigenetics tells us that how our genes behave is completely in our control! Outside influences, such as interferences, toxins, food, and trauma, profoundly affect our bodies and overall health. These environmental factors are within our control and can also be passed onto future generations - good or bad.


Genetics is the study of genes and how they determine our characteristics, functions, and health.

Genes can become altered and can mutate, and all genetics are transgenerational. Our biological children and future generations can inherit these genes.

Genes themselves cannot be reversed. However, the way in which our genes behave is reversible through epigenetics. We can not only change our current health outcomes, we can also change the outcomes for generations to come.


Epigenetics is the study of how behaviors and our environment can cause changes that affect the way genes work and behave.

Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change the DNA sequence and instead change how the body reads a DNA sequence. The prefix “epi” means “upon.”

We are in control of modifying our behaviors, including the behaviors of our genes. These changes do not alter our genetic makeup, rather our genetic expression. Epigenetic changes happen on or upon our genes and do not cause mutation of the genes. Epigenetics cause our genes to behave differently.

Like genetics, epigenetic changes can also influence our development and health, which are also transgenerational. A certain health outcome could be due to either genetics or epigenetics, however only genetic changes lead to gene alterations.

Methylation Affects Epigenetics

Chemical bonds known as methyl groups are one of the major ways that epigenetics occurs. Methyl groups act as chemical tags and attach to our genes and control whether our genes are turned on or off.

Enzymes control these methyl groups, and their activity is known as methylation. Many factors influence methylation and epigenetics.

Gene Activity

Methyl groups regulate the level of gene activity; our bodies need to have proper methylation processes.

DNA methylation often inhibits the expression of certain genes. For example, the methylation process might stop a tumor-causing gene from “turning on,” preventing cancer.

Our Behaviors & Environment

Our behaviors and environment is the main influence on health outcomes and epigenetics. Our body’s constitution is affected by factors like interference and toxins. An unhealthy constitution can result in disease, while a healthy constitution will result in a strong immune system and less likely to develop disease and symptoms.

Examples of common factors include:

  • Adversity or trauma can lead to a greater risk of developing autoimmunity

  • Chemical pollutants

  • Food

  • Exercise

  • Drugs and medications

  • Emotions

  • Infections

  • Social factors

  • Stress

  • Toxic heavy metals

  • EMF exposure

Epigenetics is Transgenerational

The most fascinating and optimistic aspect of epigenetics is that it is both transgenerational and reversible. It’s a relatively new discovery that behavioral and environmental factors can be passed down to other generations and that the inherited factors can be reversed.

Genes have memory. The choices that we make today can also affect the fate of our own children and their children’s children. Our genes have powerful memories, and they remember how we live, our emotions, experiences, traumas, etc. All of those memories are passed down to future generations.

We have complete control to make positive choices for our health, and those choices will have a direct impact on the health outcomes of generations to come!

The impact that our behaviors and environment have on our epigenetics can influence two to four generations. Epigenetic changes affect the eggs and sperm and determine the development of our offspring.

Research shows us that environmental effects are inherited.

Genes Are Not Our Destiny

So many people are told that their health is out of their control since their destiny is controlled by genetics.

Many of my clients have been told by their medical doctors that their autoimmune disease is caused by genetics and that they just need to live with it. However, research tells us that many autoimmune disorders are not genetic and instead epigenetic.

Determining the root cause of autoimmune and chronic disease is the first step toward changing your epigenetics. Once the root cause is identified, epigenetic changes can be targeted to remove the cause, instead of simply addressing symptoms.

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