Even if you don’t always get it right, you intuitively understand ……
YOU ARE, WHAT YOU EAT.
The evidence is mounting that “WHAT YOU EAT” is only part of the story….
The light at the end of the tunnel
- is the gene fired up and churning out proteins, or
- is it just sitting in your genome, looking pretty
The status of genetic switches is the stuff “on top” of the genes i.e. epi-genetics. And epigenetics matters. A multitude of small things, flip your genetic switches. Your genetic switches are being flipped ALL THE TIME……
But, there are a couple of times when lots of switching happens simultaneously, these times of mass switching are SWITCH-ATHONS.
Science has identified three major switch-athon events
- The moment of conception
- Womb time
- The onset of puberty
Since two out of the three switch-athons, takes place inside Mom, the logical conclusion is….
You must be what Mom ate
It is imperative a Mom growing a baby, gets all the raw materials she needs, to build a strong healthy baby. But, much of the switch-athon happens early in pregnancy. So does it matter what Mom is eating at the time of conception ?
Up until now, it has been difficult to study the significance of diet in human conception, but a team of researchers from the MRC International Nutrition Group, have been able to investigate the role of diet in this “switch-anthon”, by taking advantage of a very natural phenomenon, THE SEASONS.
Seasons in time
In Gambia, supermarkets and processed foods are not the routine. People live off the land and what the land provides, depends on the season. There are two Gambian seasons
- The rainy season – when mother Nature is still in the process of making the food
- The dry season – when she is done and the harvest is in
The dinner table looks very different in the two seasons, as a consequence, blood nutrient profiles of women, show distinct variations during the course of the year. The team decided to investigate whether these seasonal differences impacted the switch-athon process in babies born at different times of the year.
Making hay while the sun shines
2000 ladies from three villages, signed up to be part of this switch-athon study. Using a selection process, which involved monthly check-ups of all the ladies, the team were able to create two groups of Moms.
- The rainy season Moms, all of whom conceived at the peak of the rainy season, 84 in all
- The dry season Moms, these were women who fell pregnant at the peak of the dry season – 83 in total.
Blood samples were used to assess the nutrient status of each group of Moms, around the time of conception. And then, when their babies were born, the team took blood and hair samples from the infants, to check the switch status of selected genes.
Switching in the rain
Rainy season babies showed higher levels of methylation across all the genes studied i.e. the epigenetics of the children was slightly different. Different does not mean broken, but different does mean, the body chemistry is not exactly the same. These small difference probably contribute to over-all health destinies.
More interesting, the increased methylation levels seen in the rainy season babies, tracked back to differences in nutrient levels in the blood samples of the Moms, at the time of conception. The team concluded…….. the methylation machinery is responsive to nutrient status at the time of conception.
A whole bunch of nutrients contribute to your methylation machinery
Folic acid is already on pregnant Mom’s radar, but it is not the only nutrient impacting the methylation machinery.
Move over anti-oxidants
Up until now, dietary advice has encouraged the consumption of LOTS of anti-oxidants, their purpose, to mop up those pesky free radicals, generated as a consequence of respiration. But, our bodies also need methyl donors, to facilitate efficient switch-athons and keep our genes in tip top shape.
Shortages of methyl groups, change gene expression patterns and contribute to health problems.
We all need methyl donors, but for the wanna-be Mom, they’re especially important because they’re involved in a major switch-athon, the results of which, last a life time.
|Your very first home blings your genome forever||Are you passing on your stress to your kids ?||Could your sperm be carrying the mark of the beast ?|
If you are an expectant Mom or know someone that is – invite them to participate, so they can create Better Body Chemistry during their pregnancy and raise a HAPPY HEALTHY little one.