El Paso, Tx. Dr. Alex Jimenez answers the question patients, friends, and family have been asking, and that is how does epigenetic and personalized nutrition contribute to optimal health?
Most of us know about unhealthy food how it affects our bodies. They
- Slow Metabolism
- Add Weight
- Clog and harden arteries etc.
But now there are foods and food elements that can help us in a way and comes from a place we might not of thought of, and that is our DNA.
Nutriepigenomics examines connections between diet and biomarkers that can be attached or removed from our DNA. This turns our genes on or off.
New studies are showing that certain foods or supplements can adjust the expression of our genes, which can influence our health.
Nutritional genomics is revolutionizing both clinical and public health nutritional practices:
Diet, exercise, and environmental exposure are all elements that have shown a role in switching genes on and off through epigenetics. Adjusting lifestyle factors can control the potential to reduce disease and have a positive impact on our health.
Health professionals from all over are beginning to incorporate epigenetics into their practice aiming to provide more specialized and individualized treatment plans.
“Layering information such as diet, lifestyle, environmental factors, family history, symptoms, and diagnoses along with epigenetics can help guide someone to a state of optimized health,” said Kristy Hall, MS, RNCP, ROHP, a board certified functional nutritionist and founder of Living Well Nutrition who uses epigenetic testing, nutrition counseling, and a multifaceted approach to better provide for her clients.
May 15, 2018, Bailey Kirkpatrick Diet, Diseases & Disorders, Environment, News & Reviews
Registered dietitians have the opportunity to make genetically driven dietary recommendations that can improve human health.
Nutrition is one of the primary environmental factors that determine our health. Chronic diseases include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological disease
- Various Cancers
- Are initiated or accelerated by nutrient/food
This field of nutritional research can be referred to as Nutritional Genomics.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are single base-pair differences in DNA. They represent a primary form of human genetic variation.
Nutritional genetics or nutrigenetics involves the identification, classification, and characterization of human genetic variation that modifies nutrient metabolism/ utilization and food tolerances Fig1.
Application: Genetic & Epigenetics
Nutrients, for example, pharmaceuticals, are powerful effectors of genome expression and stability, and these gene-nutrient interactions can be optimized for disease prevention.
The promise of nutritional engineering for optimal health through diet is still ongoing, but the public is holding positive expectations, as is evidenced by the use of dietary supplements.
Scientific research is showing that nutrients in different foods and supplements we eat may be able to adjust or reverse heritable changes. This evidence can be used in making better lifestyle choices.
Blueberries are incredibly high in antioxidants and it’s thought that this “superfood” can epigenetically reduce DNA damage, thereby protecting humans against cancer and possibly even slow aging. Blueberry juice and vitamin C have been shown to be potential methylation inhibitors for the MTHFR gene and the DNMT1 gene in humans.
Kim, M., Na, H., Kasai, H., Kawai, K., Li, Y.-S., & Yang, M. (2017). Comparison of Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and Vitamin C via Antioxidative and Epigenetic Effects in Human. Journal of Cancer Prevention, 22(3), 174–181.
Learning about what we eat and what it does to our bodies, especially potential epigenetic impact, is just one step closer to optimal health.