What you eat can reprogram your genes


Food is commonly thought of as providing calories, energy, and nourishment. The most recent research, however, indicates that food may also "speak" to our genome, which serves as the genetic manual for the body's cellular-level operations.

Your health, physiology, and lifespan may be affected by this genetic and dietary interaction. Nutrigenomics is a branch of biology that aims to understand how diet affects an animal's DNA. Since this field is very young, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. However, there is a lot that has already been discovered by academics concerning the impact of dietary components on the genome.

I study the relationships between food, genes, and brains as a molecular biologist to learn more about how the signals from food impact human biology. Scientists' attempts to understand this information transfer might, in the future, lead to better and happier lives for all of us. However, nutrigenomics has revealed at least one significant truth up to this point: We have a far closer relationship with food than we ever thought possible.

The relationship between genes and diet

If the notion that food may influence biological processes by interacting with the genome sounds incredible, one just has to look at a beehive to get a demonstrated and ideal illustration of how this occurs. Bee workers are sterile, constantly working, and only survive a few weeks. The queen bee lives for years within the hive and has such strong fecundity that she may give birth to an entire colony.

The genetic makeup of worker and queen bees is the same, though. They develop into two distinct life forms as a result of the food they consume. While worker bees eat nectar and pollen, the queen bee feasts on royal jelly. Both diets are energizing, but royal jelly has the advantage that their nutrients may activate the genetic code that gives rise to a queen bee's morphology and physiology.

So how does food become a biological instruction manual? Keep in mind that food contains macronutrients. These consist of proteins, lipids, and carbs, sometimes known as sugars. Micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are also present in food. These substances and the byproducts of their breakdown can activate the genome's genetic switches.

Genetic switches regulate how much of a certain gene product is generated, much like the switches that control the brightness of the lights in your home. For example, royal jelly contains substances that turn on the genetic regulators responsible for developing the queen's organs and maintaining her capacity for reproduction. By-products of the amino acid methionine, which is plentiful in meat and fish, are known to affect genetic dials that are crucial for cell development and division in humans and mice. Additionally, vitamin C helps to maintain our health by preventing oxidative damage to the genome and supporting the activity of cellular mechanisms that can repair the genome if it is damaged.

The signals in food can affect wellbeing, illness risk, and even life duration depending on the sort of nutritional information, the genetic controls triggered, and the cell that receives them. But it's crucial to remember that up until now, the majority of these research have been carried out using bees as animal models.

It's interesting to note that foods have the power to change how genetic information is transmitted between generations. According to studies, the food of grandparents affects both the activation of genetic switches and the risk of disease and death in grandchildren in both humans and animals.

Causal relationship

One intriguing result of seeing food as a form of biological data is that the concept of a food chain is given new significance. Indeed, if the food we eat has an impact on our bodies at the molecular level, it is possible that this influence extends to our genetics as well. For instance, the amount and kinds of fatty acids and vitamins C and A in milk from grain-fed animals differ from those in milk from grass-fed cows. Therefore, when people consume these various milks, their cells likewise get various nutrient signals.

Similar to how a human mother's food affects her breast milk's amounts of fatty acids and vitamins including B-6, B-12, and folate. The sort of nutritional instructions that reach the baby's own genetic switches may change as a result, however it is still uncertain if this will have an impact on the child's growth.

Unbeknownst to us, humans are also a component of this food chain. The genetic switches in our cells aren't the only ones that food may change; it can also affect the microbes that live in our stomachs, skin, and mucosa. One remarkable instance: Serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain that controls mood, anxiety, and sadness among other activities, is altered in mice when short-chain fatty acids are broken down by gut bacteria.

Food additives and packaging

The flow of genetic information inside cells can also be changed by added components in diet. In order to avoid the birth abnormalities brought on by nutritional deficits, folate is added to breads and cereals. However, other researchers contend that excessive folate intake in the absence of other naturally occurring micronutrients like vitamin B-12 may be a factor in the increased prevalence of colon cancer in Western nations, probably by interfering with the genetic pathways that regulate development.

This may apply to chemicals contained in food packaging as well. BPA, a substance present in plastic, activates genetic switches in animals that are essential for growth, development, and reproduction. For instance, some researchers speculate that BPA affects the age of sexual differentiation and reduces fertility in both people and animal models by increasing the likelihood that genetic switches will be activated.

All of these instances suggest that there is a chance that the genetic information in food may result from more than simply its molecular makeup, such as the amino acids and vitamins, and may also depend on the agricultural, environmental, and economic policies of a nation, or the absence thereof.

Only lately have researchers started to understand how these genetic food signals affect both health and sickness. We still don't fully understand how foods affect genetic switches, how they communicate with one another, or how ancestors' diets affect their offspring. There is still much to learn about what the connections between diet and genes signify for people because many of these research have only been conducted using animal models.

What is certain, however, is that understanding the secrets of nutrigenomics is likely to benefit both current cultures and generations as well as those to come.

What you eat can reprogram your genes What you eat can reprogram your genes Reviewed by Blogger on July 22, 2022 Rating: 5
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