Epigenetics – the Why behind true self-care!

You know I’m all about self-care – because of my own story as well as the stories of women I see in clinic and coaching.  And because of what I learned after medical school.  Med school was a big deal but it is just a drop in the bucket.

We all keep learning through personal experience and by listening to others’ stories.  One story about four years ago was the reason I ended up learning about a thing called epigenetics and then nutrigenomics.  I use them both in my clinic a good bit, but I think it’s time to talk about them here with you!  Why?  Because it truly is how you change your health. 

If we pull a formal definition of epigenetics, CDC says “epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work”.  Epigenetics influences how your body turns genes on and off – it’s like a light switch that gets flipped up and down.  And all of it is fluid, changeable and reversible.  It’s important to add in here that the goal is not to change your genetics and this is very different than being tested for a colon cancer gene or a breast cancer gene.

My definition is this – how we eat, sleep, deal with stress and are exposed to environmental toxins all play a role in our health by impacting how our body’s biochemistry works or doesn’t work. 

I know…you’re shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Ummm…yeah!?  I know that my food choices and stress can mess with my health.”

But this is the thing – how empowered do you feel to make any changes in those four things?  I know it’s really easy for me to acknowledge the potential but then move on to something else because life is busy!  Changing what I eat every day or finding ways to cut back on stressors is work!  Besides… realistically, how much of an impact will small changes in those four items really make? 

Here’s the truth…It’s more of an impact than you may believe.  You can make a small change in any of those four variables and significantly impact how your body’s biochemistry works.  As an osteopathic physician, I was trained, and heartily believe, the human body will always move towards a state of health if we can get the roadblocks out of the way.  Roadblocks like food sensitivities, glyphosate weed-killer, not enough rest or red-line stressors.  Your body knows what to do…it just gets overwhelmed with modern day craziness.  Just like we all do!

And maybe I’m not making this practical enough, yet.  So, let’s zoom through some of the health issues that epigenetics can impact:

  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Menstrual and Menopausal Disorders;
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gut microbiome;
  • Allergies, including food sensitivities;
  • Fertility;
  • Liver Health, including detox pathways;
  • Heart Health;
  • Low blood pressure and high blood pressure; and
  • Migraines.

I’ll be really honest with you.  You’ll find that same list on other websites proclaiming what they believe in is the next best thing for your health.  The overwhelming thing about our health is that there is not just one way to get where we want to go. 

The reason I like epigenetics is I can see (and show you) how the actual biochemical pathways work and how to support the areas that need support.  Epigenetics offers a real explanation for why we feel the way we do after doing, eating, working or playing.  And it doesn’t involve fad diets or expensive medications or a one-size-fits-all solution. And…it’s responsive to changes in our lives and situations and stories.

Epigenetics is individualized self-care.  You find what works best for you and your unique make-up and embrace it!  Along with a little grace.  Because none of us have a record of perfection in this life!

Over the next four weeks we’ll go through what I call the Four Cornerstones of Epigenetics – and it’s all the self-care stuff – food choices, quality sleep, stress management and environmental exposures. My hope is that you’ll have new ideas and motivation for making even small changes in your daily life because that is the way to improve your health. One step and one day at a time!  This is the foundation of true self-care!

Please feel free to ask any questions along the way, too! Comment here or on Facebook…or you can email me at melissa@melissaoverman.com.


epigenetics, Four Cornerstones, self-care, Self-Care Strategy

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