Nutritional Epigenetics : A Science of Food Effects on Gene Regulation
Epigenetics has been defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur with no changes in the DNA sequence. Nutrition and food components can interact via metabolic pathways in the biosynthesis of molecules which bind to DNA and assist in controlling gene expression.
Nutrition and food choices can effect us and our animals genetic expressions for good health as well as disease.
Nutrition effects on gene expression can be short or long term affecting future generations.
Poor diets of grandparents can induce epigenetic changes that are passed on to subsequent generations causing chronic disease states.
Gene expression is not cast in stone however and can be altered through nutrition choices.
The key to the food - genetic expression is gut absorption.
How food is absorbed and digested by the gut affects how our immune system sees it.
An inflamed gut will see foods as foreign due to abnormal absorption and react against such foods producing more inflammation.
Inflammation in the gut leads to chronic autoimmune diseases such as IBD, Crones disease and other problems, i.e. ulcers, cancer and insulin resistance.
Some basics needed in the diet to help promote healthy genetic expressions necessary for wellness include:
Essential fatty acids
A safe and effective protein source
vegetable sources (organic)
diets free of pesticides, antibiotics and other fillers
Animal food problems:
Dogs & Cats
avoid grains especially corn, wheat & glutens
buy holistic since commercial foods have wheat, soy fillers that produce allergy reactions in a large population of dogs and cats
again, poor quality foods can lead to improper digestion and absorption, and instigate gut inflammation leading to autoimmune and allergy disease.
wheat and soy are very prominent in commercial foods for horses, even the best brands
true grains, oats and barley should make up the major portion of the grain diet especially if horses are insulin resistant, cushinoid, or metabolic syndrome.
use the best available quality of hay since poor quality hay can lead to chronic inflammatory processes in the gut.
reduce toxic products and avoid water contaminates with environmental toxins.
reduce stress, i.e. cold, heat, showing, travel, overwork, etc.
reduce your dependence on pharmaceuticals.
heal with nutrients, change the genetic expression for wellness, the body has the mechanisms to accomplish this process
rest and relax, all animals and humans require it for health
Conclusion: In some animal models scientists know the places in the genome that are being modified by specific nutrients. More research in the field of epigenetics should enable us to conquer disabling chronic diseases by pinpointing nutritional supplementation. We can't change our DNA heritage but genetic expression can be altered for the good of our health.