Tag Archives: diet

Mothers Diet Could Affact DNA

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NewbornA woman’s diet at the time of conception might cause lasting changes in the DNA of her children, potentially influencing their development, researchers say.

In a new study, researchers analyzed the diets of women in rural parts of The Gambia, in western Africa, who experience major changes in their diets over the course of each year as the area goes through rainy seasons and dry seasons.

“The rainy season is often referred to as ‘the hungry season,’ and the dry season ‘the harvest season,'” said study author Robert Waterland, a nutritional epigeneticist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “During the rainy season, villagers have a lot more farming labor to do, and they gradually run out of food collected from the previous harvest.”

Yearlong staples of the women’s diet include rice, a grain called millet, peanuts and cassava. But during the rainy season, they eat more leafy green vegetables similar to spinach, which are very high in folate, a nutrient that is especially important during pregnancy.

The scientists investigated the concentration of nutrients in the blood of 84 pregnant women who conceived at the peak of the rainy season and 83 women who conceived at the peak of the dry season. In addition, they analyzed the DNA of six specific genes in the women’s infants when they were 2 to 8 months old.

The researchers found that in all six genes, the infants who were conceived during the rainy season had consistently higher rates of “methylation” in their DNA. A methylation is a change made to DNA — it’s the addition of methyl groups to the DNA strand, a so-called epigenetic modification to DNA — and is a process that can silence the expression of a gene.

Methylation generally depends on nutrients such as folate, choline, methionine, and vitamins B2 and B6, the researchers said. In the study, methylation in the infants’ genes was linked to various nutrient levels in the mother’s blood.

“Our results represent the first demonstration in humans that a mother’s nutritional well-being at the time of conception can change how her child’s genes will be interpreted, with a lifelong impact,” senior study author Branwen Hennig, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement.

Prior studies in animals had suggested that environmental influences before conception might lead to epigenetic changes in the offspring. For instance, a 2003 study revealed a female mouse’s diet can alter the color of her offspring’s coat by permanently modifying DNA methylation.
“These specific epigenetic marks on DNA are very stable — essentially permanent, as far as we know,” Waterland said.

Past research suggested environmental influences could have epigenetic effects during development in humans as well. For instance, whether Dutch women suffered through post-World War II famines during pregnancy apparently influenced how skinny or fat their children were later in life.

However, there was little strong evidence that environmental factors could trigger permanent changes to DNA throughout the human body, Waterland said.
“It’s also important to note that their diet wasn’t the only thing that changed — there was more physical activity due to farm labor during the rainy season, which contributed to weight loss during the rainy season and regaining of weight during the dry season,” Waterland said. “Such changes contribute to what nutrients are circulating within the women.”
In the new study, a nearly identical epigenetic effect was found in both blood and hair-follicle DNA of the infants. “This suggests all the cells in these kids’ bodies have the same mark associated with their season of conception,” Waterland said.

The long-term consequences of these epigenetic effects in children remain unknown. “We want to develop a catalog of all regions in the human genome that can get altered epigenetically by diet,” Waterland said. “This will help give us the ability to tell what the likely role such changes might have in disease, and what particular diseases might be most likely to have an epigenetic component.”

“Our ultimate goal is to define an optimal diet for mothers-to-be that would prevent defects in the methylation process,” study author Andrew Prentice, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement. “Preconceptional folic acid is already used to prevent defects in embryos. Now our research is pointing towards the need for a cocktail of nutrients, which could come from the diet or from supplements.”

This story originally appeared on LiveScience.com.

How To Blow your Top

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Today I’m a nurse and want to do a little teaching.  What did you think when you read my title? Did you think about getting so mad you wanted to blow up?  Well today we are going to chat about when you actually blow your top because you have ignored your blood pressure.

We all have a blood pressure. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be walking around.  If any of you have ever had low blood pressure you know it sometimes makes you feel as if your legs weigh 500 pounds apiece and you can barely drag along. When your blood pressure is high in the first stages, it also makes you barely drag around.  Your head can feel light as if it’s not on your body, or you could have a non-ending headache.  Sometimes they are really bad but most of the time they’re aggravation  to you. I venture to guess that a majority of time these little things are ignored until bigger problems begin.  This seems to happen more with men than woman since they don’t like going to the doctor’s office.

I know a young man now that is in his mid 20’s, smokes, and his blood pressure is consistently above 140 systolic (top number) and 100 for the diastolic (low number).  He has been told many times what is happening to his body but he chooses to ignore it since he doesn’t feel any different. The sad thing is I know this handsome young man is a walking time bomb.

For you who may not know about what the blood pressure actually is, I will explain it the best I can.  The top number of the blood pressure is the Systolic pressure.  What it represents is the amount of pressure that is put against the vessels when the heart pumps it out.  The Diastolic pressure is the amount of pressure that remains in the vessels when the heart is resting between beats.

Because his pressures are high all the time his vessels throughout his body, but especially in the brain, are under constant pressure which stretches and thins them.  At some point in the future without the hand of God touching him he will rupture a vessel.  All it will take is a pressure higher than normal and he will literally blow his top.  It can happen anywhere in the brain. I’m sure all of you have seen people who have had strokes.  There are those that are so severe that they can no longer walk or speak and most of the time end up with a g-tube into the stomach for feeding. There are others who are paralyzed on one side or blind. All depending where the vessel ruptured. It’s not a pretty picture, but it happens to far to many of us, both male and female.

I know everyone has heard that salt is one of the biggest contributors to hypertension, and so is smoking. Having constant stress in your life is another big factor.  Then there are those that it doesn’t matter what they do and how good their lifestyle is their blood pressure is out of site.  Even children are having problems with their blood pressure and that has to do with the food we are feeding them.

I for one  do not want to be one of those people who have a stroke.  I have all the risk factors, I’m overweight, I eat too much processed food, and the list could go on forever.  Do yourself a favor and go to webmd.com or any other medical program on the web and read about the symptoms of hypertension and how you can control it. Have your blood pressure checked often and if it is above 140 for the top number and higher than 85 for the bottom number, talk to your doctor. It could save you and your family a lot of sorrow.