Look Younger Using Nutrigenomics

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about Dr Perricone’s research into nutrigenomics. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Last year, you heard us talk about epigenetics which is the study of changes produced in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA.

Now we delve into a new and more specific niche – nutrigenomics. This field analyses both nutrition and genomics studying the relationship between what we eat and our gene expression, which begs the question on everyone’s lips – can we turn back time by changing what we eat and drink?

This niche area of scientific research questions what factors in food affect gene expression and in turn how the genes we possess react and utilise the nutrients we put into our body. If this research is proved to have any evidential value it could mean that by manipulating what we eat and when we eat it in addition to lifestyle, there is a possibility that we can change the way in which our genes are expressed and even influence the way information is transmitted.

It is commonly known amongst scientists that inflammation is present in conditions that we refer to as aging or age-related. Nutrigenomics and in particular gene expression allows us to find new ways to stop the genes responsible for inflammation by silencing them with specific stimuli.

Scientists will often discuss that genes can be upregulated (turned on) by transcription factors which translocate to the nucleus of the cell in question attaching to specific receptor sites on the genes themselves. Nutrigenomics research has shown us that although transcription factors play a very important role on gene expression,  that nutritents found in everyday foods can also affect gene expression in powerful and positive ways.

Dr Perricone’s research on nutrigenomics has revealed and claimed that his list of nutrients can result in:

  • Healthy body weight
  • Decreased incidence of cancer
  • Reduced cognitive decline
  • Maintenance of bone density
  • Optimal immune system functioning
  • Maintenance of muscle mass
  • Prevention of metabolic syndrome
  • Efficient functioning endocrine system
  • Reduction in aging

There have been many diets on the market which help aid in reversing the effects of time on your skin but Dr Perricone’s book Forever Young may have just hit the nail on the head.

Scientists working on the human genome project have for years been waxing lyrical about how genetic manipulation will transform our lives immeasurably. In the meantime the most successful diet for anti-aging so far seems to be the one that encourages a variety of colours and flavours into our diet also known as rainbow foods. The reason why this diet seems to have been working is that these foods unbeknownst to us have according to nutrigenomics been upregulating (turning on) the protective restorative genes while downregulating (turning off) the damaging ones.

For those of you wanting to add some of the superfoods that pack a powerful nutrigenomic punch when it comes to banishing aging, the next time you’re in the supermarket fill your trolley with:

  • Watercress
  • Cinnamon
  • Tumeric
  • Chocolate
  • Green tea

Watercress is useful as it contains active pharmaocophores. It is thought that these “super ingredients” control transcription factors and gene expression.  In fact, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that not only do these pharmacophores reduce blood cell DNA damage but also help the blood cells prevent further DNA damage caused by free radicals.

If green tea is not your thing (its catechins are thought to suppress NF-KB) you could also try the following products which contain similar phytochemicals which also suppress NF-KB thereby purportingly keeping you looking younger for longer. These products include:

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Blueberries
  • Cloves
  • Fennel
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Pomegranates
  • Red chillis

For those of you who jumped for joy reading that chocolate was a nutrigenomic favourite, make sure that you choose an extra dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content and where possible try to select non-Dutched cocoa. This type of chocolate not only affects brain chemistry, with particular reference to serotonin and dopamine making it a natural anti-depressant, but it also works on the cardiovascular system reducing the incidence of athelosclerosis.

If you would like to kick-start your anti-aging process I suggest you look into anti-inflammatory diets which claim a noticeable and visible improvement in your skin in as little as three days. Such diets consist of:

  • Proteins in the form of fish, poultry and tofu
  • Low glycemic index carbohydrates
  • Rainbow coloured fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Healthy fats as found in fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil
  • At least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Antioxidant rich beverages such as green tea

If three days seems too long and too much effort for a quick fix of radiance, EF MediSpas are offering DermaQuest glycolic acid resurfacing for as little as £70. For more details go to www.dermaquestinc.co.uk.

For those of you who are a little braver, the Aesthetic Medical Clinic offers the RH Nutriboost treatment which uses acupunture-style needles to deliver homeopathic remedies, vitamins, nutrients and plant extracts to the mesoderm (middle layer of your skin) followed by rehydration of your skin and correction of collagen damage. These sessions cost £280. For more details call the clinic on 020 7636 1313.

If you have any further questions on nutrigenomics or if you have tried an anti-inflammatory diet and would like to share your experiences, I look forward to your comments below.

Images reproduced from thehealthblogger.com, molgen.mpg.de, hubpages.com, amazon.com and docakilah.wordpress.com

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