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Epigenetics: is it possible to put an end to all your diseases?

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Last Sunday, while appearing on Hora do Faro, Record’s Sunday show, former BBB Maíra Cardi — who acts as coach nutritional supplement and describes herself as a “weight loss entrepreneur” – she said that before she got pregnant she underwent modulation epigenetics. According to his report, this procedure would be a modification of the diet made by the future parents before the pregnancy, in order to “zero the genetics of the diseases”.

Maíra’s speech caused a great repercussion and heated discussion on social networks about what this treatment would be and if there was any scientific logic in what was said. To clarify the matter, let’s explain what epigenetics is.

Read also : Boosting the Immune System: Myths and Truths

What is epigenetics?

(Source: iStock)(Source: iStock)

Our genetic material, DNA, contains all the information about our body. A part of it, the genes, may over time cease to be necessary, as he explained to the UOL geneticist Michele Migliavacca, Doctor of Sciences from the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp). “If I have a gene whose function is to form arms, I will only need it in the embryonic phase. Afterwards, it can be deactivated,” he said.

According to the geneticist, a similar reasoning can be applied to a gene that is not important in a certain area of ​​the body. This would mean that it would also be extinguished in the organ where it serves no purpose and lit in the space of the body where it is fundamental.

And it is this act of “turning genes on and off” that is called epigenetics. It would be like a switch. In a correct functioning of our body, this act is carried out by a molecule called methyl which, by binding to a gene, methyl, that is to say, makes it act. Logically, when a gene is not methylated, it has no function.

But is it possible to “zero” genetics?

(Source: Medical News Today)(Source: Medical News Today)

Do not. It is not possible to “zero your genes”. Incidentally, it is important to point out that there is no epigenetic treatment. What there is, and perhaps this allows for this kind of confusion, are external factors that can influence methylation, such as radiation, exercise, and diet.

These external interferences can influence protein production in cells. You epigenetic models, that is, the correct bodily indication of what should “be on and what should be off”, varies from individual to individual, in different tissues of the body, and even within cells. Conditions such as cancer, metabolic and degenerative disorders are linked to epigenetic errors, that is, problems in this methylation process that can lead to abnormal gene activity or even inactivity.

However, science has not yet managed to define how epigenetics happens, in part because genetic testing does not show which genes are or are not methylated. For this reason, it is important that we keep in mind, in a fundamental way, how genetics works.

(Source: Shutterstock)(Source: Shutterstock)

Imagine the double strand of DNA, one of which is inherited from the mother and the other from the father. They stay curled up, lining up the approximately 21,000 genes in a human being, each made up of sequences with different combinations of four letters: A, T, C, G — called nitrogen bases.

They are the ones who carry all the information of our body, including the likelihood that we will develop a disease. All the cells of the organism carry this double strand with all the sequences.

It happens that, in certain situations, one of these bases can be exchanged, that is to say where there should be a G, we have an A. And this exchange, which is called mutation, would be enough to have a genetic problem. The mutation occurs in every gene, on every double-stranded DNA, in every cell in the body, including sperm and egg. This way, there are no treatments, diets or prayers that change your genetic structure.

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