Food For Thought… Changing Gene Expression Through Diet

I’m currently reading Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski for a class at IHN. I read through the passage below last night and found it absolutely fascinating. The fact that there is scientific proof that we can change the way that our genetic makeup, our genes, express themselves through diet and lifestyle is amazing! It makes sense, but to read of a study which demonstrates the positive effects that whole foods have on us is just so satisfying. Take a look below:

Excerpt from Digestive Wellness:

…In fact, the only factor we can’t control is our genetic makeup, and even that is more malleable than we previously believed. To illustrate this point, here are two recent studies on the effect of lifestyle and diet on how our genes behave. The Functional Genomics and Nutrition Study (FUNGENUT) looked to see whether different carbohydrate sources would change the way genes worked. Participants ate 25 percent of their calories either as rye bread and dark pasta or as oat-wheat bread and potatoes. Those who ate the rye and dark pasta diet had 62 genes that were up-regulated (turned on). The genes that were affected were related to better handling of stress and reductions in inflammatory markers. Dean Ornish, M.D., performed genetic testing on 30 men who had low-risk prostate cancer. Eighteen of these men’s cancer-protective genes were down-regulated (turned off) and 388 of their cancer-promoting genes were up-regulated. For three months, they changed their lifestyles to include a low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet; daily stress-management techniques; moderate exercise; and participation in a support group. At the end of the study, the cancer-protective genes were significantly turned on and the cancer-promoting genes had been significantly turned off. While so far no genetic studies of this type have been done on digestive issues, we can anticipate many of them in the future. The few studies that we do have illustrate that small changes in lifestyle can have dramatic impacts on how genes express themselves.

Lipski, Elizabeth (2011-09-13). Digestive Wellness: Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion, Fourth Edition (Kindle Location 471). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.

Something to think about this weekend…

Daily Affirmation: “I lovingly nourish my body through positive diet and lifestyle choices” 


3 thoughts on “Food For Thought… Changing Gene Expression Through Diet

    • Hi Jakcarter! I’m a student at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver. Glad to hear that you found the book as engaging as I did 🙂

      I just read through your blog – wow, it’s so powerful! I’m so incredibly proud of you for taking your health into your own hands. Good luck on your journey and I’m here to support you in any way that I can.

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