Today - Tomorrow - Forever
By Dr. Joe Manza DC, CACCP - Webster's Friendly Neighborhood Chiropractor
At some point in your life, someone has probably said to you: “You are what you eat.” There is absolute truth in that statement because what we put into our body literally becomes the building blocks for new cells. Put in good stuff and you get healthy cells, healthy tissues, and healthy organs, thereby making our body strong in all aspects and reducing sickness and disease.
Put in bad stuff and you get less healthy cells, less healthy tissues, and less healthy organs, thereby making our body weaker in all aspects and increasing sickness and disease.
This process not only impacts our own level of health on somewhat of a more immediate time frame, but also has the potential to create a far greater impact for people we may never meet.
This process is called epigenetics, which is how our external environment (the foods we eat, the air we breathe…) influences our body’s internal environment (the expression of our genes). What is important to also understand is that we have the ability to impact the health of our reproductive system’s sperm and egg cells; our future generations. What we eat and breath (and I believe what we think about) will positively or negatively impact their health.
A paper from Environmental Epigenetics discusses exactly this point and concludes that “environmental or lifestyle changes not only produce the effects on the individuals exposed themselves but may also be transmitted in potentially unmodified form to their offspring over several generations.”1
Seeing many new families over the years it has become common to discuss two types of planning events. The first plan is known as a birth plan, which is a detailed outline of the who, what, when, where and how the family would like the labor and birth process to proceed. These types of plans may include everything from what music to play during the birthing process to delivery position to delayed cord clamping and every small detail in-between.
The second type of plan is a future family plan. This centers around which epigenetics factors will help to create the best possible health outcomes for the not-yet-conceived baby. This plan asks the parents to consider factors such as dietary habits, smoking/drinking/drug use and exercise/activity levels, as well as time frame, finances, and other thought-provoking questions.
Many of the future family planning questions are designed to be extremely personal and are put forth to spark a private discussion (which I am not a part of). If questions arise that fall within my scope of practice, such as nutritional and physical concerns, then I am always happy to lend a helping hand or refer as necessary. However, these are all epigenetic factors that are important to address if possible, which have the potential to impact their future offspring and the generations that may follow.
If you are thinking about updating your family, please assess your epigenetic factors. If you don’t know where to start, think about this: “You, your children, and grandchildren are what you eat.”
1: Developmental origins of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance
Mark A. Hanson, Michael K. Skinner
Environ Epigenet. 2016 Jan; 2(1): dvw002. Published online 2016 Mar 5. doi: 10.1093/eep/dvw002
Dr. Joe Manza DC, CACCP runs a chiropractic office located in the Village of Webster.