Each one of us inherits 23 chromosomes from our Mother and 23 chromosomes from our Father. Residing on each one of those 46 chromosomes are genes. It is estimated that humans have approximately 23,000 genes. So, one chromosome can be home to literally hundreds of genes.
Each gene is like a computer command that directs the RNA within a specific cell to manufacture a specific protein needed to help the cell function. Different genes command RNA to make different proteins, so multiple genes are needed to keep just one cell functioning properly.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the technical name given to your 46 chromosomes. Those 46 chromosomes, in actuality, represent an instruction manual that tells RNA in each cell to manufacture the various proteins necessary to keep the cells in your body running smoothly.
Interestingly, an individual gene can be turned on or off by something called methylation. Methylation is the process of creating enzymes that make genes active or inactive.
What triggers methylation?
Many things, including habits.
The simple act of forging a new habit can have profoundly beneficial or harmful effects on your health and wellbeing.
Good habits, such as reading to learn, is an example of a habit that turns on certain good genes. These good genes, once activated by your reading habit, instruct RNA to produce proteins that help grow and strengthen brain cells that are being called into service as you read. Reading, in effect, stimulates genes to help maintain and grow brain cells.
So long as you keep reading and learning, those genes will keep churning out proteins that help strengthen brain cells, which, in turn, boosts your IQ.
Bad habits, or time-wasting habits, such as sitting on a couch watching Netflix for hours at a time, is an example of a habit that keeps good genes toggled in the off position.
This TV watching, time-wasting habit, in effect, keeps those learning genes inactive due to your lack of mental activity. Without these good genes working to maintain and strengthen brain cells, the brain cells and their synapses weaken.
In other words, your brain cells become impaired by your time-wasting habits. This can result in a lower IQ or cognitive impairment.
When you have bad habits, good genes can’t do their job. We can see this manifest itself in the form of various disorders such as obesity, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and all sorts of other preventable diseases.
You are who you are because of your genes. And your genes make you who your are, through your habits.