What is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics refers to the inheritable changes in your DNA that don’t change the actual DNA sequences. That means these changes are potentially reversible.
What is DNA Methylation?
Your DNA consists of four bases called cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine. A chemical unit called a methyl group (designated by CH3 or one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) can be added to cytosine.
When that happens, that area of the DNA is methylated. When you lose that methyl group, the area becomes demethylated.
DNA methylation often inhibits the expression of certain genes. For example the methylation process might stop a tumor-causing gene from “turning on”, preventing cancer.
Researchers are currently working to better understand the factors that affect DNA methylation. Based on some earlier findings, there is some evidence that diet plays a role. This opens up the potential to reduce genetic risk of developing certain conditions such as breast cancer or heart disease through simple lifestyle changes.
The patterns of DNA methylation change through out your life, from fetal development to end of life. Studies suggest thqt DNQ methylation slows down as we age. Genes that were once repressed by methylation start to become active and possibly result in a variety of diseases. Interestingly, another study found that participants”who consumed more alcohol were more likely to have decreased DNA methylation. In contrast, those who consume a lot of folate were more likely to have increased methylation.
“Can Diets Change Your DNA? The question is “are you really what you eat? The answer appears to be No. However, we have known for years that gene expression influences metabolism. A study published in Nature Microbiology in 2016 indicates that nutrition may play an important role in how some DNA sequences are expressed. The study that how genes behave is strongly influenced by the food we eat. Even so, we are still a long way from the kind of personalized medicine that will furnish nutritional therapies to treat a wide spectrum of conditions.” Stay tuned for the future. Source: You Are what Your Grandparents Ate. Judith Finlayson, 2019.
You may want to search my blog for a simple description of the association between nutrigenomics and diet with the Agouti yellow mouse.