Have you ever heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?” It’s not just a phrase dietitians use to scare you into eating healthy. It’s a true statement! Think about it this way: are there some foods that make you feel sluggish throughout the day if you eat them? For us, sugary foods tend to give one fleeting moment of satisfaction before taking us on a first-class trip to slump-town all afternoon.
You may know that foods can affect how you feel, but did you know that your nutrition may actually affect your DNA? That’s right! What types of foods you put in your body can change your genes and DNA! Science is learning more and more about this phenomena–but it’s been pretty widely known among holistic health gurus for years.
Today, we’re going to be talking a little about this field of study and the idea of being able to improve your own health with proper nutrition. Why? Well, because… drum roll please! We created a BRAND NEW line of Purium products based on this fascinating science.
Ready to learn? Stick around (or just scroll to the bottom) for a super cool announcement!
What Is Epigenetics?
Hypothetical Case Study: The Anderson’s vs Smith’s
Let’s hypothetically assume we have two sets of parents: we’ll call one the Andersons and the others, the Smiths. Let’s focus on the Anderson’s first.
Both Anderson parents smoked all the time prior to having children. You probably already know that smoking is associated with negative health concerns. Because of their choice to smoke, their children may face repercussions when they are born. Why? Because nicotine can affect what genes are actively passed on from parent to child, including a gene making it more likely for those children to become smokers themselves (1). For example, it is believed that smoking can turn off the genes that help the body block out cancerous cells. (2)
Now, let’s take a look at the Smiths. The Smith parents do not smoke. Instead, they are total health-nuts. They like to hit the gym and stock up on their favorite green veggies at the market. How do you think their children’s DNA will compare to the Andersons? Their children are more likely to have “good” genes turned on. (3)
Now, here’s where things get more interesting!
You see, the Andersons may have altered their children’s DNA by smoking; HOWEVER, that DNA can still change over time. Their child can grow up and live a healthy life, eating veggies and exercising. Guess what could happen!? They could change their genetic make-up with nutrition, healing some of the damage created by their parents.
What’s more, if the Anderson parents were to change their ways and adopt a healthier lifestyle, their future children’s DNA would be affected for the better, too! Pretty cool, right?
How Do You Change Your DNA with Nutrition?
The Science Behind Changing Your Genes with Nutrition
Numerous factors can influence the gut microbiota composition such as health status, mode of birth delivery and genetics, but diet is considered among the most crucial factors impacting on the human gut microbiota from infancy to old age.
Researchers hypothesize that diet may affect psychiatric symptoms associated with the “gut-brain dysfunction.” So, if certain foods can help improve the brain-gut connection, they would be able to address issues associated with the connection, including obesity, digestive disorders and mental health.
Another study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, explored how a personalized wellness program can help “switch off” genes and decrease the likelihood of suffering from metabolic syndrome (6). Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that may lead to heart disease, diabetes and/or stroke.
So, just how do you exactly change your body with nutrition?
How You Can Help Express the Good + Suppress the Bad
- Vuolo, M., & Staff, J. (2013). Parent and child cigarette use: a longitudinal, multigenerational study. Pediatrics, 132(3), e568-e577.
- Pang, D., McNally, R., & Birch, J. M. (2003). Parental smoking and childhood cancer: results from the United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study. British journal of cancer, 88(3), 373.
- The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). (2011, September 20). Feed your genes: How our genes respond to the foods we eat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 9, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919073845.htm
- Mead, M. N. (2007). Nutrigenomics: the genome–food interface.
- Oriach, C. S., Robertson, R. C., Stanton, C., Cryan, J. F., & Dinan, T. G. (2016). Food for thought: The role of nutrition in the microbiota-gut–brain axis. Clinical Nutrition Experimental, 6, 25-38.
- Steinberg, G., Scott, A., Honcz, J., Spettell, C., & Pradhan, S. (2015). Reducing metabolic syndrome risk using a personalized wellness program. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 57(12), 1269-1274.