We are what we eat and absorb
Epigenetics can be defined as those changes in gene expression, which can be reversible and heritable, but they do not alter the DNA sequence, that is, as its name indicates, they are modifications that occur on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), varying its structure or access of the transcription elements to said material.
Today, there is a lot of interest in knowing how our diet could be influencing it. Therefore, nutrigenomics arises, it analyzes the ability of nutrients to modulate molecular mechanisms, which underlie the physiological functions of the organism, especially the expression of genes. However, to move towards more personalized nutrition, most of the research has focused on the field of nutrigenetics, which tries to understand those processes of the genetic sequence of individual influences and their response to diet. This science focuses on the identification and characterization of genetic variants, associated with differential responses to nutrients and with the risk of developing a disease.
The different factors that influence the epigenome, which have a great relationship with the development of health or disease, are not yet known, since certain elements such as some types of diets or exposure to environmental toxins, can be triggers of processes carcinogenic, development of obesity, insulin resistance, etc.
There are different types of epigenetic marks that generally involve a remodeling of chromatin (the way DNA is presented in cells), such as DNA methylation (adding a carbon atom attached to three atoms of hydrogen, which is used to turn genes on and off) or modifications in histones (proteins found on chromosomes). These processes require enzymes responsible for adding or removing methyl groups.
There are also other elements that affect gene expression without altering chromatin, such as non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA), which can influence the final expression of the gene as a mechanism of post-transcriptional regulation.
Although epigenetic changes can be heritable, there are three concepts that make the study of epigenetics very interesting:
Epigenetic phenomena seem to represent one of the main mechanisms by which dietary and environmental factors can alter gene expression and long-term metabolism, thus explaining some problems developed in adulthood, whose origin comes from earlier ages or even in behaviors attributable to parents or grandparents.
Epigenetic modifications are potentially reversible, which opens the door to new dietary or pharmacological therapies focused on their modification, both in childhood and in adulthood.
Epigenetic marks change the local chromatin environment, thereby affecting DNA accessibility and also regulate a wide range of DNA template-based processes, including gene transcription, hence early detection of epigenetic marks altered could help an early diagnosis of the disease or, even better, an early preventive action before the disease develops. Recent studies suggest that epigenetic marks are sensitive to nutrients, toxins, pollutants, pesticides and other environmental factors, and can affect their levels, their renewal and the incorrect activation or deactivation of genes.
Until not long ago, it was estimated that epigenetic markings are suppressed in the embryonic period and rebuilt from scratch. However, it is now recognized that some epigenetic marks remain in place and are passed on to the next generation, such as genetic information, in a process called epigenetic inheritance.
The epigenetics of the diet is very important, since if an individual is genetically predisposed to developing a certain disease and makes the appropriate changes in their diet and also depending on their absorption, they will act in a positive epigenetic way avoiding or attenuating said disease. On the other hand, if diet and absorption are inappropriate, the negative epigenetic influence would act to trigger or aggravate the disease.
Therefore, through diet and the nutrients that our body absorbs, we can ensure that genes that develop chronic diseases are never expressed and remain latent, or if they are expressed that they do so later and in a milder way. A healthy diet should include methyl group donor nutrients (folic acid, methionine, choline, betaine, vitamin B12 ...) that we can find in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, pomegranate and avocado, among others. Also increase the consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes. Restrict external factors that induce negative epigenetic changes such as stress, tobacco and alcohol. Unbalanced diets can cause epigenetic changes that can contribute to the development of metabolic complications. However, the interesting thing about nutriepigenetics is to know if these changes can be reversed by healthy diets.
It is clear then that we are what we eat and our body absorbs. It is also important how we eat and our attitude to face our day-to-day.
At EpixLife you can find the foods that are most appropriate for your body based on your gene expression.
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