Food Is a Factor in Healthy Aging

English: space filling model of folic acid fro...

English: space filling model of folic acid from data (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers from the Institute of Food Research have found that molecular changes to genes, called epigenetic marks, result primarily from aging but food also affects them. High levels of selenium and vitamin D decreased the number of epigenetic changes, and high levels of B vitamin folate and obesity increased them.

The researchers analyzed rectal biopsies from 84 men and 101 women who were free of colorectal disease. They also had measurements of age, body size, nutritional status and blood cell counts for these study participants. The scientists were looking for specific epigenetic changes, called DNA methylation, that have been linked with signs of the onset of bowel cancer, which is considered an age-related disease. The importance of DNA methylation is that it controls gene expression, the process through which information from a gene is used to make products, such as proteins, that are necessary for cells to function. If gene expression isn’t regulated, it can result in the development of cancer.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • Men have a greater number of epigenetic changes than women
  • Participants with higher levels of vitamin D and selenium had lower levels of methylation
  • High levels of B vitamin folate was associated with increased levels of methylation
  • Obesity was associated with increased levels of methylation

~ by chasm63 on December 10, 2012.

4 Responses to “Food Is a Factor in Healthy Aging”

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