??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I’d really like to do that! If I could change my DNA, I could look younger, think better, and live longer, right? Like a kid in a candy store, I’d choose from a regular buffet of benefits!

In fact, it appears that DNA changes can be made…without expensive tests and revolutionary technology.

Really? WOW! Put me in coach, I’m ready to play……..today!

As it turns out, you WILL need to play. The name of the DNA game-changer  is Endurance-building Exercise.

(Well, that’s over.)

Come on! Listen up. While I was somewhat disappointed that the main genetic code couldn’t be altered and leave me with pouty lips like Angelina Jolie’s,  I WAS able to get a grip on potential modifications and move forward.

The human body, though not adaptable enough to give me sensuous lips, is really very plastic. We become what we eat, and muscle adapts to what we do, according to Juleen Zierath of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.  In fact, a study in the March issue of Cell Metabolism showed that when people exercise for as little as 20 minutes per day their DNA alters almost immediately.

Now that’s good news! Most of us are laboring under the negative effects of words like cell metabolism, making mental connections with other words like……..obesity and heart disease.

BUT, the DNA molecules in muscles can be structurally modified in certain locations. These changes are called”epigenetic modifications” and, if you are just beginning to exercise, they are the precursors to positive changes in muscle structure and strength. In this connotation the word metabolic was linked to positive changes and benefits!

I must be honest and confess that the Cell Metabolism people reported that caffeine can change muscle in similar ways. I do drink a lot of coffee, and felt that I was off the hook for a moment, there. Whew! However, the Cell people were quick to point out that a person would need to drink 50 cups of coffee a day to get those benefits, which I, even under the stress of an article deadline, cannot match. Fifty cups is nearly lethal.

In fact, the more vigorous the exercise, the more profound the chemical changes in DNA. It appears that muscles are activating genes important to endurance and strength. As we get older, we lose both endurance and strength, falling down, breaking our hips and so forth.  It is intriguing to realize that vigorous exercise can alter DNA functions and possibly increase potential for a longer, disease and accident-free life.

Speaking of disease, molecular physiologist Juleen Zeirath stated that exercise is one important way to maintain insulin sensitivity of organs and prevent type 2 diabetes. Although type 2 diabetes  seems a disease of lessor insulin production, it is in reality a disease of insulin resistance. The hot-button words metabolic disorder pretty much sum it up. In fact, Zeirath’s studies suggest that diabetics have different DNA methyl group patterns than healthy persons, which explains why they cannot regulate insulin levels without medication.

Some of us are fat, and genetics play a role in obesity. ‘Fat mass and obesity’ genes make for somewhat of a catch-22 catapult into plus sizes for many Americans. Are fat and lazy synonymous?

Unfair! But think it over. DR. Ruth Loos, an obesity researcher at Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, England told USA Today: “You don’t have to run a marathon or necessarily join the gym, but walking the dog, cycling to work, taking the stairs…will have the effect we saw in our study,” she said. “We hope that studies like ours convince people that even when genetically susceptible, a healthy lifestyle will help in the prevention of weight gain.”

In other words, the more a person moves around, the more positive DNA changes can happen!

Exercise is cheaper than medication. Try it.