The Epigenetic Trail Runner

Written by Jeff Kildahl for the Fall 2021 edition of our Trail Times newsletter. Jeff is an author, publisher, epigenetics performance visionary; and ultra-endurance philanthropist leveraging technology to propel limitless performance and potential in life and sport via modifications to gene expression. Photo: @adriankasniar.

“Your genes may load the gun but your lifestyle pulls the trigger.” ~ Julieanna Hever MS, RDN, CPT

Being fit and unhealthy is a recurring theme; it delineates effort from struggle – on the trails and in life. The keys to your mansion of unparalleled health, performance, and longevity are heightened when lifestyle matches chronotype. Performance optimization cannot occur without first enhancing health. Homeostasis is the dynamic interaction between genetics and lifestyle [nature and nurture]. Synergy is the lynchpin.

We have the technology to eliminate the guesswork, decode superhuman, and propel your limitless potential. Epigenetics represents an unprecedented, bold, medical paradigm leveraging cutting-edge technology to shift genetic expression with mind-blowing results in life and sport.

Epigenetics provides visionary, incisive, evidence-based measures, and strategic actions to genetically optimize and enhance health, performance, and longevity – because life begins and ends at the cellular level.

Epigenetics Precursor
Epigenetics represents the study of changes in organisms caused by modifications to gene expression absent any alteration to the genetic code [DNA blueprint/sequence]. “Epi” is the Greek lexicon for “above.” Epigenetic markers are positioned above your DNA sequence and impact gene expression/suppression based on lifestyle factors [methylation].

Your DNA blueprint is absolute and cannot be altered. Think of epigenetic markers as apostrophes sprinkled above the letters and words of a sentence [your DNA sequence]. Your DNA provides instructions for proteins to be produced inside the cells. Epigenetic markers impact [like a dimmer switch] how genes are read by cells.

Epigenetics represents all inputs from life and what is possible. It identifies propensities that can be modified whether it pertains to a trail runner’s sleep, stress, nutrition, supplementation, athletic performance, environmental health, hormones, biological age, neurotransmitters, the endocannabinoid system and glutathione systems, nitric oxide production, mitochondrial biogenesis, neuroepigenetics, heart rate variability (HRV), cognition, and a host of other testing categories.

Proper gene expression is a big deal. The mayhem begins when a gene is expressed when it should be suppressed or vice versa, and its impact reaches far beyond a sub-par training day on the trails. This invites inflammation, chronic and degenerative diseases, accelerated biological aging, senescence, and a plethora of other undesirable outcomes – no matter how fit the trail runner.

The promise of epigenetics testing is its depiction of cellular integrity. When variants highlight abnormal cellular function it allows the opportunity to reverse chronic, degenerative, autoimmune states, cancer, biological aging, and improve your health, performance, and longevity via gene expression modification

Systems Approach
It is necessary to integrate a complex systems approach to optimize health, performance, and longevity. It is important to understand the human system is an unpredictable, complex system versus a complicated system.

In a complicated system, several independent pieces can be modified without affecting the other pieces. In a complex system, each piece is dependent on its relationship with the other pieces.  The human system is adaptive and dynamic. App algorithms focus on complicated, predictable, and static biometrics.

The invaluable art of applying complicated data to complex thinking is “augmented intelligence.” The precise interpretation of complicated data is the key to transcending health, performance, and longevity in life and sport.

“Epigenetics Revolution” by Nessa Carey provided the following analogy. Think of your life as a movie:

  • Cells represent the actors – the essential units that make up the movie;
  • DNA represents the script – instructions for all participants of the movie and their roles;
  • DNA sequence represents the words on the script;
  • Genes instruct key actions or events to occur;
  • Genetics represents screenwriting;
  • Epigenetics represents directing all elements of the movie.

The director can alter the film by tweaking scenes, dialogue, and so forth. Steven Spielberg would create a different product from Woody Allen – even though both had the same script. Perhaps it is time to rewrite your script….