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Nutrigenomics Should Matter to You

by Mila McManus, MD

Nutrigenomics is a relatively new field that is dedicated to understanding how food impacts the expression of your genetic make-up. 

Nutrigenomics is a relatively new field that is dedicated to understanding how food impacts the expression of your genetic make-up.   The good news is that you don’t have to accept some predetermined fate as a result of your genetic makeup.   While it is true that your genes influence your health and longevity, they don’t determine it fully. 

Think of your genes like a dimmer switch. The activity (i.e., expression) of your genes can be turned up or down.  You control that dimmer switch. You have the ability to turn your genetic health up and  your genetic disease propensities down, and it all has to do with your lifestyle choices.

What is the one, most powerful tool you can use every day to favorably impact your genes and your biology?  YOUR FORK!

“There’s no other activity you do on a daily basis that has more power to change your biology than what you eat.”*[1] 

When you choose nutrient-rich foods, you can turn on genes that promote health and longevity, while turning down genes that contribute to disease.[2] The food you put in your mouth has coded messages for your genes. This is nutrigenomics. Nutrient-rich foods will signal your body to express its wellness genes, while processed fake foods will signal your body to express sickness genes.

Processed foods change your gene expression to turn on disease causing genes through inflammation, oxidative stress, and damage to the microbiome.

Eating fruits and vegetables is key to achieving your optimal genetic potential.  The rainbow colors of fruits and vegetables are proof of the priceless polyphenols found in them. Polyphenols are phytonutrients that fight inflammation and activate longevity pathways to slow down the aging process.[3]

Another way to achieve your genetic potential is through a healthy gut microbiome.[4] Eating polyphenols, as well as fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and resistant starch, all feed and nourish your microbiome.  These important bacteria produce compounds such as short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites that strengthen the gut lining, improve digestion, and support the immune response.

Eating a wholesome diet nourishes your body and also sends positive signals to your genes!  Consuming ultra-processed foods, stripped of gene-enhancing nutrients, disrupts these signals and contributes to disease.

Eat Real Food to Turn Up Your Healthy Switch!

[1] Hyman, Mark. What I Eat for Health and Longevity. Journal-post dated Monday, May 20, 2024.

[2] Pignatti C, D’Adamo S, Stefanelli C, Flamigni F, Cetrullo S. Nutrients and Pathways that Regulate Health Span and Life Span. Geriatrics (Basel). 2020 Nov. 19; 5(4):95. Doi:10.3390/geriatrics5040095. PMID: 33228041; PMCID: PMC7709628.

[3] Pereira QC, Dos Santos TW, Fortunato IM, Ribeiro ML. The Molecular Mechanism of Polyphenols in the Regulation of Ageing Hallmarks.  International Journal of Molecular Science. 2023 March 14;24(6):5508. Doi: 10.3390/ijms24065508. PMID:36982583; PMCID:PMC10049696.

[4] Kassem NM, Abdelmegid YA, El-Sayed MK, Sayed RS, Abdel-Aalla MH, Kassem HA.  Nutrigenomics and microbiome shaping the future of personalized medicine: a review article. Journal of Genetic Engineering Biotechnology. 2023 Nov 22;21(1):134. Doi: 10.1186/s43141-023-00599-2. PMID:37993702; PMCID: PMC10665279.

By |2024-06-13T06:30:25-05:00June 13th, 2024|Articles, General|