Man is a creature of evolution, as our genes are highly influenced by the food we eat and the environment which surrounds us. Diet and lifestyle can either promote good health or lead to the initiation of disease and an early demise. Epigenetics is the science which examines how our food and environment directly alter our genes, and has made great strides since the human genome has been decoded allowing us the ability to monitor the activity of individual genes.
The Damaging Effect of Sugar on Our Genes
Scientists have been able to quantify the damaging effect that sugar has at a genetic level, as genes which are essential to proper immune function are effectively shut down for a period of two weeks with a single serving of sugary food. Further, studies demonstrate how this process leads to deadly diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Our genes are not set in stone from the time of birth, and are subject to switching either on or off based on each bite of food we eat and the impact of the world around us. Sugar is particularly devastating to our genes, as it disrupts normal metabolic activity, causes blood sugar spikes and leads to insulin resistance. Each of these damaging effects results in a negative response from a series of genes which control the normal function of our immune system.
We rely on our immune system to provide the front line response to pathogenic invaders which can enter our body causing illness. Additionally, our immune system is continually patrolling for rogue cancer cells which develop as a normal part of cellular replication. When the immune response is compromised by excessive sugar or refined junk food carbohydrates, cancer cells evade detection and begin to multiply. This process takes place over decades, and the continual consumption of sugar on a daily basis means our immune system is continually working at a disadvantage.
Give Your Genes a Break by Controlling Diet and Supplementing with Vitamin D
Our body has an amazing capacity to repair problems caused by years of dietary abuse, if we provide the opportunity. No other action has a more profound effect on our gene expression than the food we eat every day. Our genes are dynamic and continually responding to the dietary cues we provide with every meal. Researchers have found that reverting to a well balanced diet which is low in sugar and processed foods and rich in healthy fresh vegetables and greens, nuts, seeds, lean protein and monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats can favorable modify our genes toward health.
Overwhelming evidence indicates that supplementing with Vitamin D can significantly influence the expression of more than 200 genes which are essential to our health. Vitamin D acts like a reference manual which each cell uses to control normal cell death and precise duplication. When there isn’t enough vitamin D to saturate our cells, errors occur in the replication process which lead to mutations and a greatly increased risk of cancer.
Normally we race through life without the least concern for the health of our genes, and the detrimental impact that food has on our health. Scientific advances allow us to have a much better understanding of the immediate changes which occur at the genetic level based on our diet. Fortunately, it’s quite possible to modify our lifestyle and the foods we eat to reverse damage from past digressions and lower our risk from many deadly diseases.