The p360 team was thrilled to sit down with Dr. Lena Cheng, MD, a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, for a chat about epigenetics and your health.
Team ph360: How can making lifestyle changes alter a person’s chances of developing certain diseases—particularly if they have a genetic predisposition to a condition such as heart disease?
Dr. Cheng: Genetic predispositions are exactly that – a predisposition. It is a risk or a chance that a person may encounter a disease, based on the limited definitive knowledge we still have in the field of genetics even after 30 years of research on the human genome. For example, having a gene or mutation related to heart disease is by no means a certainty of being diagnosed with or suffering from heart disease. Scientific research has now demonstrated the undeniable influence of many lifestyle factors, such as obesity, stress, or a sedentary lifestyle, that can increase or decrease the likelihood of a person experiencing conditions like heart disease. By substantially changing your lifestyle, such as your diet and exercise, you are able to influence the way your genes are expressed and, therefore, influence your chance of developing conditions such as heart disease.
Team ph360: What are some of the most powerful factors influencing changes in a person’s gene expression?
Dr. Cheng: We refer to factors that influence changes in a person’s gene expression as epigenetic factors, or factors that act on the gene from the outside. These epigenetic factors can have a very powerful influence on one’s health, behavior, emotions, or actions. Food, exercise, and our environment have been the most widely known epigenetic influencers for centuries. However, lesser considered factors such as a person’s career/daily work, social circumstances, and personality also play a major role in keeping a person in a natural state of health or, in contrast, can contribute to stress, sickness, or disease.
Team ph360: As a physician, what do you find to be the most useful aspect of ph360? How do you hope people will use this tool?
Dr. Cheng: I am excited ph360 is finally available to the public. It offers great insights into the types of food and exercise that are best, and the lifestyle and environment that are unique to each of us to keep us healthy – all based on our phenotype, or gene expression. ph360 takes several different advanced areas of expertise and makes them easily accessible to the general public. I hope people will adopt the preventative approach to health and wellness that are the fundamentals of ph360 so we can see a substantial reduction in disease and illness across the nation in the years to come.
Learn more about how ph360 can help you take a preventative approach to your health today at ph360.me!