No, don’t take that the wrong way …when we ask you whether you are a mutant, we aren’t asking if you are some kind of freak or are from Mars. We just refer to the fact that the average rate of human DNA mutation is roughly 100-200 new mutations per generation (from mother to daughter, for instance–read more at http://bit.ly/Yt7snU).
That sounds like a lot of mutation, but scientists have identified that a lot of these mutations are harmless. So don’t lose too much sleep over this number. In addition, the normal processes of the human body can and do “repair” mutations in the DNA, both between generations in the family, and during your lifetime.
Causes of Human Genetic Mutation
Obviously, you can’t change the mutations that occur in translation from your parents’ DNA to your own. These errors in replication occurred during the very early parts of your life, during conception and gestation. But what about now? What about your life from now moving forward? Can you reduce the amount of genetic mutation that occurs?
Why are we so certain? Well, consider some of the more ordinary causes of genetic mutation:
- physical trauma
- environmental agents and toxins
- poor nutrition
If these sound like factors that you feel like you can control, then you can affect the health of your genetic material. Sounds pretty right? Do some meditation, cut down on stress, eat healthier, reduce your exposure to environmental toxins … you get the picture, right?
Let’s Add More to the Picture
We personally know that you can affect genetic material because we have seen it in our lives. We also have read studies that show that better nutrition, for instance, can turn certain genes on or off.
It’s well known in the scientific community that the juvenile diabetes (type I) gene is turned on in children who frequently drink cow’s milk or eat foods high in MSG. Yet children who eat a healthy diet high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals tend not to get juvenile diabetes.
At the other end of the spectrum, research shows that the development of cancer is the result of many genes being switched on over a period of time, making older people more likely to develop cancer. Phytochemicals, the colored pigments in plants that protect them from the harmful effects of UV radiation, have been shown to inhibit the activation of cancer genes or by preventing the cancer gene’s instructions from reaching its destination.
For instance, one kind of cancer gene may send instructions to certain enzymes to produce a special protein that will promote the growth of cancer. In the presence of phytochemicals, however, those instructions never reach their destination, the special protein is not formed, and cancer never occurs.
A Story About a Cat …
And here we feel the need to add an anecdotal story about genetic change being affected by nutrition. True, this is a story about a cat and not a person, but the story is so startling that we felt we had to include it here. We had a friend who bred hairless cats. The “hairless” trait in cats was bred-in, capitalizing on a specific genetic change that produced cats with no body hair. This friend heard about the health benefits of supplements like blue-green algae, so she began feeding her cats this supplement. Lo and behold … her prize-winning hairless cats got healthier. The only problem? They ALL started growing hair!
Does that tell you something about one’s ability to affect one’s genetic material? Read more about the effect of blue-green algae on genetics here.
Stem Cells Play a Role, Too
Then there are stem cells. Stem cells are the undifferentiated cells our bodies produce that can replace any cell in the body. Recently Deepak Chopra and other scientists like Dr. Rudi Tanzi (see a preview here) have been discussing the importance of one’s own stem cells in developing the super brain. It turns out, according to their research, that when brain damage occurs, repair can happen when the body has enough access to stem cells. Taking certain supplements can increase our own production of stem cells by up to 70%. Sounds pretty good for supporting our body’s natural inclination to heal or replace damaged or mutated cells! Learn more here.
So … want to avoid being a mutant? Just kidding … but you can definitely affect the factors that cause cellular mutation. We’ve given you some tips in this article, and you can read more by looking up studies on the super brain and other research by scientists in this field. Mutation is part of being human, but it doesn’t have to affect your health!