Epigenetics and The Paleo Diet | The Paleo Diet®
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.

The latest from The Paleo Diet®, just for you.

Hot topics, new recipes, and science

Epigenetics and The Paleo Diet

By The Paleo Diet Team
March 12, 2010
Epigenetics and The Paleo Diet image

What do you think about epigenetics? Many scientists (in Germany) believe that the concept of the Paleo Diet is no longer tenable.

Thanks a lot,

Michael

The Paleo Diet Team's Response:

Dear Michael,

Epigenetics is defined as the science studying changes in phenotype or gene expression by mechanisms other than changes in DNA nucleotide sequence.1 The phenotype is someone's appearance which it's determined by the genotype (stable and heritable) and the environment (nutrition and other lifestyle factors) which give place to the epigenotype (heritable, labile and rapid).1 Epigenetic changes are controlled, among other mechanisms, by methylation and histone modification. Altered methylation pattern and histone modification may lead to increased susceptibility to disease. E.G. cancer is associated to generalized hypomethylation and localized promoters hypermethylation.1 Histone manipulation may also increase or decrease disease susceptibility.2

Both, methylation and histone manipulation are under the control of dietary substances. For example, methylation depends on SAMe availability, which in turn is influenced by vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate intake,3 and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as DHA.4 On the other hand, certain substances such as garlic, horseradish, fiber, blueberries, apple, onion, nuts, berries, red grapes, broccoli, etc. are known nutrients involved in histone modification.2

The Paleo Diet is rich is all of these nutrients,5 hence it may exert positive effects upon epigenetics machinery leading to decreased disease susceptibility. Decreased availability of micronutrients is associated to disease severity, probably, through complex epigenetic mechanisms, and supplementation could improve those symptoms.3 Improved epigenetic is influenced by metabolic programming during foetal and early life. These two periods are crucial for the developing newborn and future adult's health. Hence, The Paleo Diet may confer protection against several diseases improving the epigenetic programming.

We hope this is helpful.

Maelán Fontes Villalba - MS Ph.D. candidate in Medical Sciences at Lund University, Sweden
Pedro Carrera Bastos - MA MS Ph.D. candidate in Medical Sciences at Lund University, Sweden

References:

  1. van Vliet J, Oates NA, Whitelaw E. Epigenetic mechanisms in the context of complex diseases. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Jun;64(12):1531-8.
  2. Delage B, Dashwood RH. Dietary manipulation of histone structure and function. Annu Rev Nutr. 2008;28:347-66.
  3. Kemperman RF, Veurink M, van der Wal T, Knegtering H, Bruggeman R, Fokkema MR, Kema IP, Korf J, Muskiet FA. Low essential fatty acid and B-vitamin status in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia and its response to dietary supplementation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Feb;74(2):75-85.
  4. Muskiet FA, Kemperman RF. Folate and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in psychiatric disease. J Nutr Biochem. 2006 Nov;17(11):717-27.
  5. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O'Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54.
  6. Kemperman RF, Veurink M, van der Wal T, Knegtering H, Bruggeman R, Fokkema MR, Kema IP, Korf J, Muskiet FA. Low essential fatty acid and B-vitamin status in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia and its response to dietary supplementation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Feb;74(2):75-85.

Even More Articles For You

No Legumes On The Paleo Diet?
Can you eat legumes on the paleo diet? Learn more in this article. The Paleo Diet® offers the latest paleo meal plans, paleo diet recipes & paleo news.
By The Paleo Diet® Team
The Intrinsic Variation in Hunter-Gatherer Diets: Why there is no one “ideal” Paleo Diet
Learn about the variety of diets among hunter-gatherers and why there is no "ideal" Paleo Diet.
By Kyle Cordain
Can The Paleo Diet Protect Against Chronic Diseases?
Even in the wake of COVID-19, chronic diseases have surpassed infectious diseases as the primary threat to human health. Learn how the Paleo Diet can help reduce your risks of developing a CNDN.
By Dr. Marc Bubbs
Paleo Leadership
 
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.