(NaturalNews) Have you ever wondered how and why certain people seem to appear either younger or much older than their actual chronological age? Certainly genetic inheritance has some impact on aging, development of chronic conditions and longevity, but an abundance of new research is demonstrating through the science of epigenetics that how our genes are expressed to protect us from illness and an early demise is fully within our control. Lifestyle, exposure to environmental hazards and to an even greater degree, the quality, composition and type of foods we consume play a large role in determining how we age as well as how and when we will die.
A nutritional research team from Newcastle University in the UK have reported the results of a study in the journal, Aging Cell that explains how molecular changes to our genes, known as epigenetic marks, are driven mainly by aging but are also affected by what we eat. Scientists have been revealing the cellular impact that molecular compounds such as curcumin, resveratrol and Omega-3 fats have on genetic expression and human metabolism over the past decade. These natural chemical structures are shown to have a dramatic impact on disease prevention by altering genetic markers through epigenetics.
Healthy, natural food diet alters DNA methylation to promote health and extend lifespan
Researchers examined the cell linings from a group of colonoscopy volunteers to determine the impact of diet on polyp formation, a biomarker of aging and future colon cancer occurrence. The volunteers were free of cancer or inflammatory bowel disease and continued to eat their regular diet. The scientists looked for epigenetic changes, identified as DNA methylation markers, which do not alter the genetic code but affect whether the genes are turned on or off. Epigenetic markers are a strong predictor of precancerous growth and future incidence of the disease.
The study team found that men tended to have a higher frequency of these epigenetic changes than women, which is consistent with men being at a greater risk of bowel cancer. Participants with higher vitamin D status tended to show lower levels of methylation, and a similar effect was observed for the mineral selenium. The finding was consistent with the known links between higher vitamin D and selenium levels and reduced bowel cancer risk.
Conversely, high levels of the B-vitamin, folate was associated with increased levels of epigenetic changes linked with bowel cancer. Further, the study found relationships between body size (height, weight and waist circumference) and epigenetic changes. The information provided by this work helps to validate a wealth of prior studies that explain how diet and the environment alter genetic markers to promote or damage health. Maintaining a normal body weight and consuming a natural diet, void of processed and fried foods promotes epigenetic changes that keep us healthy and extend lifespan.
About the author: John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.