What is Epigenetics and how can it improve your health?

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Learn about behavioural epigenetics and how some simple changes could improve your life and reduce the risk of illness

70% of all healthcare budgets around the world are allocated to treating preventable diseases. That’s a whole load of money that could be spent elsewhere if more health risks could be identified before they turned into illnesses.

You may believe you have little control over whether you’re likely to get sick or not, but actually there’s a great deal you can do to minimise the risk of getting sick.

Epigenetics is one way to assess and reduce your risk of illness. Here we’ll discuss what behavioural epigenetics is and how it could impact your life.

What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of how your genes, certain lifestyle habits and environmental factors impact your health, specifically related to your DNA. For example, your genetic makeup, what you eat, where you live and how you exercise can alter how your body reads your DNA sequence.

A simple saliva test can show if your body is deficient in any areas. This may be due to hereditary conditions you might be passed on from your parents, or how you live your life.

As we age, our muscles and bones grow weaker and we need to work extra hard to keep them strong. This requires a combination of a balanced, protein-rich diet, sufficient vitamin intake and strength based exercises. We become more at risk of developing inflammatory conditions like arthritis or age-related conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Our eyes may take strain more easily and we could start to develop issues with our hearing.

These factors can also tell a lot about our risk of becoming ill, so Epigenetics factors them in alongside your DNA profile, genes and current lifestyle.

What can Epigenetics tell me?

In a recent blog about Epigenetics, we spoke to James Brown, co-founder and Nutrigenomics Director for Muhdo. He explained that;

“Epigenetics is basically the intersection between genetics, nutrition, and your environment and how diet, vitamins, exercise, stress and sleep can all change the methylation and expression of our genes.”

There are a number of factors we take into account when doing an Epigenetics study for patients.

Your genes play a big part, but as we mentioned above, we’ll also consider physical aspects, such as;

  • Biological Age
  • Eye Age
  • Memory Age
  • Hearing Age
  • Inflammation

What can I do if I’m at risk of illness due to my genes, lifestyle or environment?

There’s a lot you can do and this is where your healthcare professional can help.

For example, if you choose Vala to conduct your Epigenetics study, we’ll provide you with an action plan to help you address any areas of concern. Our combined DNA and Epigenetics test includes meal guides, workout plans, detailed reports and insights into your health based on the study.

So you’ll be armed with everything you need to take a proactive approach to your healthcare!

Are there any risks of Epigenetics?

There are no risks to you, and an Epigenetics study is an interesting and exciting way to delve deeper into your health and wellbeing.

However, we can’t use Epigenetics to treat any existing diseases or serious conditions. You should continue working with your healthcare professional, and take any prescribed medications or treatments.

Epigenetics is effective for identifying health risks and giving you tools to mitigate these risks, but it’s impossible to remove the risks completely, so you should always speak to your GP if you have any concerning symptoms.

How do I get started?

At Vala, we offer three options for testing within the field of Epigenetics.

  1. A basic DNA test will give you insight into your genetic health profile, with a health action plan to get started.
  2. The combined DNA test and Epigenetics test is far more detailed. It also includes meal plans and workout programmes personalised to you.
  3. Very soon we’ll also offer an annual Epigenetics package if you’d like to manage your health on an ongoing basis with a dedicated healthcare professional, using insight on your genes, lifestyle and environment.

We’ve developed an Epigenetics app for IOS and Android that will accompany you on your journey towards better health. The app will adapt throughout your journey, so it gives you the best insights and advice for your unique needs at each stage of the process.

Want to learn more about Vala?

Get in touch today to find out more about what we do, or sign up now to start enjoying the benefits of dedicated, on-demand healthcare at your fingertips!

Our trained, professional and friendly team of healthcare professionals can support you across a range of health concerns. Mental health, family health, nutrition and physical health issues are just a few of the areas we cover. Best of all, you can have your GP appointments over the phone or video chat, so you don’t even need to leave the house!

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