Not so much as a cause, but as a cure.
Start with the material on genetic expression here.
I’ve gained several pounds over the past few weeks and I did it quite easily, which surprised me. Check here to see why I gained the weight. I’m determined to lose it before it becomes my new normal, but I’ve also been curious as to why I gained it so easily. My eating habits didn’t change that much. My exercise routine was slightly different, but I kept up with my yoga practice.
Are you still with me?
Let’s start at the beginning. Literally.
I love this video from Virginia Hughes at The Last Word On Nothing because it’s short, charming, and incredibly creative. If you want a better understanding of your irregularly arranged DNA and how your unique version of this dynamic, coiled jumble of genes makes you the special (or quirky) person you are, watch this short (less than 2 minutes) video.
See? Wasn’t that awesome?
In a nutshell (or nucleus in this case): DNA forms the inherited genetic material found inside our cells. Genes are the hereditary units that form our DNA. Our genes tell our cells how to function and what traits to express.
And guess what? We have some control over that. A good example is the genetic predisposition for celiac disease. Say you have the gene that codes for celiac disease (DQ2 or DQ8), but you live on some isolated island and you’re never exposed to gluten. That gene would not be expressed. It would stay turned off. On the other hand, if you eat a lot of gluten and the stars align, you’ll end up hitting the switch and turning the gene on. I have DQ2 genes and celiac disease, but I’ve been living gluten-free for so long now, I feel like my celiac gene is on dim mode. It’s not turned on, but it’s also not totally turned off either. Eating a big plate of gluten-filled pasta would be the equivalent of hitting the on switch and re-expressing the gene. I don’t want to do that.
On another note, I have this theory that I’ve tweaked a different genetic predisposition of mine in a healthy way and although that’s a good thing, there have been some unintended consequences. We have about 20,000 genes so there’s lots of potential for shenanigans….[ ]…..Jump ahead to the year 2000. I’m hitting midlife, am still very active, but I’ve never really learned to relax. High blood pressure is common in my family and mine had been inching up over the years. Not bad, but it was making a move. I decided I had no desire to express (turn on) that high blood pressure gene that seems so prevalent on my dad’s side of the family. I decided to turn it off by practicing yoga and meditation. And guess what? A decade later, I don’t have high blood pressure, I’m calmer, I don’t fidget as much, and I no longer drive people crazy with my speed walking. Instead, I float around chanting in Sanskrit. No worries. Peace, love, and tie dyes.
One more time, but now jump ahead to 2011. I’m busy co-writing a book* with my friend and colleague Pete Bronski of No Gluten-No Problem, so I sit at my computer for long hours each day. I don’t change my eating habits (which are good for the most part), but my intense hiking, skiing, dog walking, etc. go by the wayside. I’m still committed to yoga, but to keep from being too stressed from my work, I practice a more restorative style. Yikes, I gain 5 or 6 pounds in short order. I’ve never done that before.
Now, check out this post on the possible benefits of a gluten free diet for gluten sensitivity.
Only about 1% of the population has celiac disease (CD), a serious autoimmune response to the glutenin proteins that, if untreated, can lead to serious health problems including cancer, neurological illnesses, and death. Most people fall somewhere on the murky spectrum of gluten sensitivity. Some of these people have a hard time digesting glutinous grains, but their reaction isn’t an autoimmune response, and symptoms are often resolved when gluten is eliminated from the diet. (For more on the physiology of gluten reactions and why they are hard to diagnose, read this.) Symptoms attributed to gluten sensitivity include gastrointestinal distress, rashes, fatigue, irritability, headaches, and even psychological effects. While many people attribute digestive issues to gluten sensitivity, it is possible to have a variety of other symptoms and no digestive distress.
And finally, the relationship between yoga and health, as it relates to a gluten free diet:
WHEAT INTOLERANCE PRODUCTS AND TREATMENTS
Probiotics may improve digestion through supplementing good bacteria in the gut. She advises taking a probiotic capsule rather than eating probiotic yoghurt, as the dose is higher and adds that the best brand isProven Probiotics (available from Lloyds Pharmacy or provenprobiotics.com). She also recommends taking afish oil supplement and 5-Hydroxytrytophan (5 HTP). This is prescribed to regulate moods and help treat anxiety. This is important as wheat intolerance has been linked to depression. She also recommends people in Frome to try yoga or t’ai chi to reduce stress levels.