Your very first home blings your genome forever

in utero environment impacts gene expressionWhere you live counts….

This is the reason why people strive to live in a nice house, in a nice neighbourhood, surrounded by nice things and nice people. As a rule, the nicer the environment – the nicer your life.

But the place you really want to BE NICE, is your Mom’s womb.

It’s the decor in that first house that impacts the rest of your life.

More than walls without windows

The intrauterine environment is designed to be “HOME” for 9 months.

Your genetic package is determined at the moment of conception, when in a twinkling of a eye, the genetic package of the sperm and egg fuse. But there is a lot more to genes than simple possession, in the 9 months it takes to go from the size of a dot to a baby – a myriad of genes will be turned on and off.

Some will be fired up for a brief moment, to orchestrate the development of a key component, others will be fired up for the long haul, some will never be turned on.

Some are turned on as a matter of course, while others are turned on just because….

Just because…

The environment plays a big part in turning genes on and/or off.

The environment in the womb is a major driver of this on/off process. And the womb is an intriguing place…… Researchers from Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia, have discovered through twin studies, just how interesting a place the womb can be.

The team looked at the twin’s epigenomes, this is the DNA fingerprint of someone which includes not only the sequence of nucleotides, which makes up the genes, but also, the status of each gene i.e. is it on of off.

Monozygotic twins have the exact same genes, but which genes are on and which are off, can be a little different – these tiny differences can cause one twin to suffer from schizophrenia, later in life, while the other never has a problem.

Diet and decor

The only explanation of this difference, is that despite sharing the same womb, each twin’s intrauterine ride, is a tiny bit different.

And it is these subtle differences that make the HEALTH difference.

So what is different ?

Mom may be eating the same food, for THREE, but exactly how much food gets to each baby, depends on the status of that baby’s feeding tube i.e. the umbilical cord, which extends from the placenta.

The team found food shortages, associated with lower birth weights, seem to fiddle with the switches for growth and metabolism.

Flipping the switches

We’re just learning about this switching system.

We understand the chemistry involves popping a methyl group, onto specific DNA bases in a process known as epigenetic tagging.

But the implications of these subtle chemical modifications are still a little mysterious, but we do know this DNA methylation process does more than just regulate development, it determines destiny.

Womb wise

It is already well established that a low birth weight, increases the odds of developing diabetes or heart disease.

This study suggests the trouble arises due to faulty switching, in some key genes, this switching defect is triggered by food shortages. Now food shortages can be due to feeding tube troubles, but they can also arise because of poor food choices on the part of Mom. Bad Mom !

The second food shortage is more fixable than the first, but neither can be fixed “ONCE YOU’VE ARRIVED”.

However, they can be managed…… by your “behaviours”.

Beyond the womb

Your “behaviours” turn these genes on and off, ultimately determining your body chemistry.

Your “behaviours” are more than whether you eat McDonald’s for dinner every night and sit on the couch – it is pretty much everything you do.

It includes

BLING your genome

Add a little BLING to your genome, flick a few switches – sign up for our free e-course, “31 Days to Better Body Chemistry”.

Neonatal DNA methylation profile in human twins is specified by a complex interplay between intrauterine environmental and genetic factors, subject to tissue-specific influence. Genome Res, (2012) 22:1395-1406.  Gordon L, Joo JE, Powell JE, Ollikainen M, Novakovic B, Li X, Andronikos R, Cruickshank MN, Conneely KN, Smith AK, Alisch RS, Morley R, Visscher PM, Craig JM, Saffery R. 
 

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Further reading

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Your lifestyle turns the lights off in your heart Winter nookie increases the risk of having an autistic child A bee fix for an aging brain

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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