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الجينات والبيئة - Genes and environment

Genes and Environment: How They Shape Our Health Future

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In our evening conversations with friends or family, phrases like “Respect your genes, brother” or “Genes also have the greatest impact” are often heard when trying to justify someone’s diabetes or high blood pressure. Frequently, we discourage a person’s efforts to lose excess weight because they have a family history of obesity. At the same time, we’ve noticed many actresses opting for hysterectomy or mastectomy after DNA testing and confirming the presence of genes responsible for these cancerous tumors.

 

Our genes carry our disease destiny and determine the quality of our lives and health

 This is one of the most complex questions posed by geneticists. However, there is a factor that directly affects the gene expression process and the occurrence of diseases or their absence. It’s not governed solely by genes but by genes and environmental factors. I’m not just referring to temperature, humidity levels, and seasons, but also to:

 

  • Dietary habits
  • Oxygen levels
  • An individual’s psychological state

 

Indeed, the surrounding factors significantly impact our physical health. The more positive the impact, the more it reflects on our health in a positive way, and our bodies demonstrate this through the

absence of chronic and serious diseases.

 

The Impact of Environment on Plants

This principle applies to all living beings. For example, consider wheat crops after a drought season. The seeds appear wrinkled and thin and may be infected with fungal or bacterial diseases. If you were to test a sample of this crop in the lab to measure its nutrient content, you would find it lacking in essential proteins and nutrients, which would normally be within their natural ranges if not for the drought season.

 

Research has confirmed that the gender of some reptile species is influenced by temperature, either high or low. This challenges the common belief that gender determination depends solely on genes and not environmental factors.

 

Hence, recent research has proven that the environment affects not only the growth and health of a living being but also the activation or inhibition of certain genes. You might carry disease-causing genes, but due to environmental influences, these genes may not be activated.

 

While genes may sometimes prevail, the conclusion is that you and I and all of us play a role in maintaining our health free from chronic and dangerous diseases, through what we can control in terms of our mental health, nutrition, and following a healthy lifestyle.

 

Here are some tips to activate the positive effects of environmental factors:

  1. Eat healthy foods free from sugars and unhealthy fats.
  2. Engage in physical exercise, even if short, as it positively impacts your health.
  3. Avoid stress and bad psychological states to prevent the rise of cortisol hormone.
  4. Ensure sufficient sleep to help rejuvenate your energy.
  5. Avoid smoking due to its harmful health effects.

 

Understanding the mutual influence of both environment and genes on your life helps you adopt a healthy lifestyle, creating greater awareness and responsibility towards your body and overall health.

 

Author: Dr. Aya Awad, Leader of Academic Advising Program

 

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