|Posted by Marisa Kimble on December 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM||comments (0)|
Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured in our I Lost Weight series!
Name: Jennifer Smith
Before Weight: 350 pounds
How I Gained It: My first memory of being overweight was when I was five years old on my first day of kindergarten. I had been blissfully ignorant of the fact until that day, but since, have been reminded every day. My entire life I have battled with obesity, never understanding why I had such a strong desire to eat. Over the past year I have realized that I never allowed myself to "feel" anything, I was numbing all emotions with food.
In June 2012, I weighed 350 pounds. I was no longer able to work, as I could hardly take 10 steps without having to sit down and rest. The simplest, everyday things had become difficult for me. I had all the health problems that one would expect from someone my size: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes (just to name a few). I was on 17 different medications, and on 800 units of insulin per day. I always say I had a heartbeat, but I wasn't alive.
Breaking Point: During a visit to see my endocrinologist, I said to him, "I am just so insulin resistant, I think I could take the whole bottle of insulin and it wouldn't help!" That's when the doctor said, "Jennifer, you are out-eating your insulin."
His statement made me cry for two reasons. One, it was humiliating, and two, why would I do this to myself? I remember this day so profoundly because it's the day my life was forever changed.
How I Lost It: It was there at the Greenville Free Medical Clinic that I met Nursing Director Mark C. Johnson, RN. Mark told me something I hadn't heard in a very long time. He said, "I believe in you, and I know you can lose this weight." Mark can never understand why this meant so much to me. Perhaps it's because I had given up long ago and never expected to hear those words again. It sparked something in me that day and I believed him.
Mark asked me to write down everything I ate for one week and then bring it to him so we could go over it together. After I did that, I met with him and he made simple suggestions that were easy to do. For example, he said, "Instead of five pieces of bacon, have two." What I heard was, "I can still have bacon." He made everything seem possible.
For the first time I was forced to see what I was doing. When you are looking at such a large amount of weight to lose, it seems hopeless, but Mark gave me hope. He taught me that food is not my enemy, and that's where I had gone wrong so many times before. Cutting out certain foods or food groups for a time only made me binge on them later. Instead, I have learned to nourish my body with all types of food. I am not on a diet, I have changed the way I think and feel about food. I now know what foods are going to make me feel good and which ones make me feel bad. I keep a food journal, and I'm careful to follow serving sizes on nutrition labels. Mark has taught me to be mindful of what, when and why I'm eating. I was able to meet with him every week for a year.
Exercise is also a critical part of my weight loss. Mark is an ultra-marathon runner, and he often used his running experiences as a way to relate to my weight-loss journey. I started to think maybe I could run, too. At the end of November 2012, at 300 pounds, I started to run. Not for long: I think it was about 30 seconds before I had to stop and rest. But every day I was back at it, trying again and again. I learned I'm not weak-willed or lazy, and I am very proud to say that in June 2013 I ran my first 8K. Running has tamed the "beast" of my food addiction. Now I run five or six days a week, and I'm training for a half marathon.
My life has changed so much since last year. I am working again at a job I love, and I am able to volunteer at the clinic two days a week leading a nutrition and weight loss class. I have gotten off most of my medications, and I am no longer diabetic. I can never thank the wonderful staff and volunteers at the clinic enough for all their exceptional care and continual encouragement. And, a special thank you to Mark, who saved my life.
Current Weight: 185 pounds. I have 25 more pounds to go to reach my goal.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on November 11, 2013 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Upson K, AJ De Roos, ML Thompson, S Sathyanarayana, D Scholes, DB Barr, VL Holt. 2013. Organochlorine pesticides and risk of endometriosis: Findings from a population-based case-control study. Environmental Health Perspectives. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306648.
Synopsis by Lindsey Konkel
Exposure to two banned pesticides may be associated with an increased risk of endometriosis, according to new research. Previous studies in rodents suggest that organochlorine pesticides and other chlorinated compounds may act as hormone disruptors, altering uterine and ovarian function and raising the risks of reproductive diseases.
National Institutes of Health
Exposure to organochlorine pesticides may increase women's risk of reproductive diseases.
Exposure to two banned pesticides may be associated with an increased risk of endometriosis, according to researchers from Washington State.
Endometriosis, a disease in which uterine tissue grows in the ovaries or other parts of the body, often causes pelvic pain and infertility.
The researchers focused on organochlorine pesticides, which were widely used for decades but mostly have been banned due to health concerns. They break down slowly in the environment and persist for many years in human tissue.
Links to endometriosis were found for the insecticides lindane and mirex. Mirex was banned in the United States in 1978. Most uses of lindane also have been banned, although it is still used in some doctor-prescribed lice shampoos.
Previous studies in rodents suggest that organochlorine pesticides and other chlorinated compounds may act as hormone disruptors, altering uterine and ovarian function and raising the risks of reproductive diseases.
The new study is one of the first to examine the association between organochlorine pesticides and endometriosis in women in the general population. Six to 10 percent of reproductive-age women in the U.S. suffer from endometriosis.
“Our study suggests that exposure from extensive past use of environmentally persistent OCPs in the United States, or present use in other countries may impact the health of the current generation of reproductive-age women with regard to a hormonally-mediated disease,” the study authors wrote.
The researchers focused on organochlorine pesticides, which were widely used for decades but mostly have been banned due to health concerns. They break down slowly in the environment and persist for many years in human tissue.Researchers tested blood from 248 women with clinically diagnosed endometriosis and 538 healthy women for traces of 11 organochlorine pesticides and byproducts. The women ranged in age from 17 to 49. The majority were white.
The women were divided into four groups, or quartiles, based on the level of pesticide in each woman’s blood.
Women in the second-highest exposure group for beta-hexacyclochlorohexane (beta-HCH), a byproduct of lindane, had a 70 percent greater risk of endometriosis than women with the lowest levels. Women with the highest levels of mirex had a 50 percent greater risk of endometriosis than women with the lowest levels.
When the researchers looked only at women with ovarian endometriosis (uterine tissue growing in the ovaries), the association was much stronger – a 2.5 times greater risk for those with the highest blood levels of the lindane byproduct than those with the lowest levels.
There were no statistically significant associations for other pesticides, including chlordane, DDT and hexachlorobenzene.
The researchers collected the blood samples an average of 1.2 years after diagnosis of endometriosis, so it’s possible that the concentrations may not reflect the levels that existed in the women’s blood while the disease was developing.
However, their results are consistent with those of a smaller study published last year, which linked HCH exposure and endometriosis.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on October 29, 2013 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|
The DNA you were born with is in fact not your destiny! Time magazine featured epigenetics on the cover of their January 2010 issue and again in July 2011.
The science of Epigenetics says that 30% of our DNA or “Genome” is pre-programmed and can’t be changed as opposed to the 100% scientists used to believe prior to the 2002 mapping of the human genome. The amazing and life changing discovery is that 70% of our epigenome (“epi” meaning above) or the layer above our DNA is controllable and influenced by the following four factors; Environment, Nutrition, Exercise and your Spiritual & Social relationships.
Scientists are learning through the discoveries of epigenetics how to jump start good genes that extend life and silence bad genes which prevents disease and slows down the aging process.
Epigenetics and Nutrition is designed to educate you and provide real, natural solutions in each of these Four Pillars of Epigenetic health. By following these recommendations and implementing these practices in your life, you can become the person you either used to be or dream about becoming.
It is attainable, you don’t have to suffer, you can live a life full of vitality, free of aches & pains, medications, and disease. You can change your life forever. Epigenetics is changing the world’s view on health!
Epigenetics and Nutrition has many programs, nutritional products, books, methods, resources and informational materials listed under the four Epigenetic Pillars- Environment, Nutrition, Exercise and Spiritual & Social have all been pre-tested and shown to affect you at an epigenetic or gene level. All you need to do is make a commitment to take responsibility for your health because your family, your primary Doctor (in 90% of all cases), your friends and especially your Government are not going to, only you can make the changes necessary to take control of your health!
I added one more Pillar, the fifth Pillar that I genuinely believe affects us at an Epigenetic level as well, Wealth! And by Wealth, I mean Wealth creation and Wealth protection. It’s not enough to create Wealth, we also need to know how to not only hang onto it but also how to nurture and grow it! Being wealthy provides a sense of protection from fears and anxiety.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on October 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM||comments (0)|
By Dr. Brent Hunter
Posted Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 12:06pm EDT
Keywords: adhd, autism, Childhood Cancer, detox, Dr. Brent Hunter, Prescription Drugs, toxicity, Toxins, vaccines, wellness, Wellness Achiever, Wellness Lifestyle
From BPA, MSG, pesticides, environmental chemicals, household cleaners, toxins in vaccines and prescription drugs, our children are exposed to a huge amount of toxic chemicals. Toxins are everywhere in our modern society. They are damaging your child’s health and causing disease. How can you get these chemicals out of your children’s bodies and protect them? The first step is to understand where they are coming from. Then you can eliminate them and incorporate a healthy lifestyle that naturally detoxes your child’s body.
This article is Part 1 of 2 addressing the issue of toxicity in our children and what to do to detox them. It is not necessarily easy to rid your kid’s bodies of years of these stored toxins but it is possible. In part 2, we will discuss specific strategies and tips for detoxing.
Toxins and Childhood Health
The problem of toxic exposure has only increased year by year. My readers of more advanced years will remember a time when children were generally healthy and active. Today, however, there are more children who are sick and taking prescription drugs than there are healthy children. Certainly, there are many factors that contribute to this but the extreme exposure to toxins is a huge factor that you can control.
Nearly 12 million children in the United States under age 18 suffer from one or more learning, developmental, or behavioral disabilities.(1) We have seen ridiculous increases in the incidence of autism, ADHD and cancer in children. Consider these facts:
•Autism rates were 1 in 150 in 2000. By 2008, the rate had increased to 1 in 88.(2)
•From 2001 to 2010, the rate of ADHD diagnosis increased 25%.(3)
•Cancer is now the leading cause of death by disease in children under age 15.(4)
My Experience with Toxicity in my Own Child
When my son was born, the doctors felt that my wife had an infection in the birth canal. If that were the case, it could be transferred to my son during delivery and cause harm to him. However, the only way to confirm the infection is a bacterial culture that takes three days to grow. As a result, my son was placed on ‘precautionary’, heavy doses of three different I.V. antibiotics for three days.
Well, three days later, the cultures came back negative – my son never had a bacterial infection at all. However, the three days of heavy antibiotics were not without effect. As a result of the antibiotics, my son is profoundly deaf. There is nothing I can do to restore his hearing. However, the experience that we gained over the last five years dealing with his deafness have been amazing. In fact, my wife and I write about those experiences at this blog: Seeing Life Differently.
Additionally, the antibiotics wreaked major havoc on his digestion system. It took at least three months to detox him from the antibiotics and restore his normal digestive functions. He endured a lot of discomfort and pain for three months all due to three days of antibiotic treatment.
He is now one of the healthiest, non-toxic kids I know. Since that incident at birth, he has never had need of any prescription drugs, including antibiotics.
He attends the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind - a public school serving Deaf and Blind children in all of Florida. Many of the children at this wonderful school live in dorms Monday through Friday. The school has a great medical clinic/health center right on campus.
On registration day, all the parents have to also check in with the health center. It was amazing to me how many of the parents - nearly all - checked in prescription drugs for their children’s chronic health conditions! Toxicity from prescription drugs alone is a huge problem for our children.
It seemed like we waited forever in the line for the health center. We simply had to let them know that he has no drugs, remind them of his vaccine exemption, and sign a health services form.
I thank God everyday for my child’s great health. It is not that he has great genes. It is that we have formed a lifestyle for him that produces great health. This is no easy task as a parent, for sure. But it is possible, even for picky eaters like my son and every other five year old kid!
The fact is that children are exposed the same chemical toxins as adults. However, children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults for several reasons.
•Their bodies are still growing
•Pound for pound children drink more water/juices, eat more food and breathe more air than the average adult which increases their exposure to toxins
•The typical child receives 50+ toxin-laden vaccines before age 6(5)
Here are the top 10 toxins that our children are exposed to regularly:
1. Mercury Fillings. The mercury in these fillings is slowly leached into your kid’s body everyday which causes long term neurological damage. This mercury exposure is made even worse by the other sources your child is exposed to from vaccines and other drugs.
2. Toxins in Vaccines. Vaccines are not as safe as you may have been led to believe. I do not intend to discuss the validity of vaccines in this post. I would refer you to NVIC and Vactruth.com for a full discussion of this important issue. However, please do educate yourself fully before deciding which vaccines and how many vaccines to give to your child. Regardless of your vaccine decision, they are filled with toxic chemicals that damage your child’s health and cause disease. Here are just some of the common vaccine ingredients – posted on the CDC website(6) - that may shock you:
•Formaldehyde – also used to preserve dead things
•Mercury (thimerosal), especially in flu vaccines
•Aluminum – highly associated with alzheimer’s disease
•Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
•Antibiotics (neomycin, streptomycin)
•Human cells from aborted fetal tissue
•Cells from pig and horse blood
•Monkey kidney cells
•Calf serum protein
•Chicken embryo cells
•Egg Protein extracts
•Soy Protein extracts
• Ammonium Sulfate
3. Prescription Drugs. I discussed the problem with antibiotics that my child experienced. That was only scratching the surface. Prescription drugs are all toxic and inherently dangerous. ADHD drugs are especially dangerous and toxic. They belong to a class of drugs called amphetamines and are similar to street drugs like meth and speed. No parent would even consider handing their child meth. However, when a doctor gives you a prescription for a legal version of the same thing, unfortunately, most parents don’t even think twice about giving it to their kids every day. Even worse, more and more kids are being prescribed antidepressant drugs as well with devastating effects.
4. MSG in foods and personal care products. MSG is everywhere. It is very toxic and results in many health problems. Read How to Avoid Being Secretly Poisoned by MSG to learn more about this important issue.
5. Toxins in processed foods and fast foods. Have you thought about the amount of synthetic chemicals, preservatives, nitrates and artificial colors and flavors in the hot dog that you give your child for lunch? These chemicals are used in all processed and fast foods and are a constant source of toxicity.
6. Toxins in Laundry products. These products may smell nice, however, the chemicals that create that fragrance are cancer-causing toxins. They are absorbed by your clothing and then absorbed through your skin and into your body.
7. Toxins in shampoo and personal care products (soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc). Have you read the back of your shampoo or body wash bottle lately? Chances are that you will not recognize 99% of the ingredients. Neither will your body when they are absorbed through your skin.
8. Toxins in household cleaning products. Window cleaners state on the bottle that they are harmful or fatal if swallowed. Bleach will certainly cause grave danger if ingested. Though we don’t drink them, these chemicals are absorbed into our bodies by inhalation or through our skin.
9. Pesticides in the home, food, and environment. We use pesticides in the home that get into our bodies by inhalation or accidental skin exposure. We consume produce and meat that contain ridiculous levels of pesticides.
10. Soda pop. Both – depending on where you live – soda (and) pop contain high amounts of phosphoric acid which literally dissolves your child’s teeth and leads to softening of the bones as well. Not to mention the high fructose corn syrup causing toxicity, obesity and diabetes.
If you stop to think about all of these items, it becomes abundantly clear that our children (and you) are toxic! What can you do? How do you get rid of these toxins? We will discuss that in part 2 of this series. Look for it tomorrow.
The information in this article and the next (part 2) have been presented as a result of a question from a Wellness Achiever Newsletter subscriber. Be sure to subscribe for the latest updates from Wellness Achiever. You will also periodically have the opportunity to ask your questions about health and wellness and have them answered here. Visit WellnessAchiever.net and you will see a box near the top, right side of this article to enter your email address.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on October 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM||comments (0)|
HLA-DQ and susceptibility to celiac disease: evidence for gender differences and parent-of-origin effects.
Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Apr;103(4):997-1003. Epub 2008 Jan 2. PMID: 18177450
Francesca Megiorni, Barbara Mora, Margherita Bonamico, Maria Barbato, Monica Montuori, Franca Viola, Simonetta Trabace, Maria C Mazzilli
Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Celiac disease (CD) is twice as frequent among female than male. Despite the large number of reports on the DQ2/DQ8 association, no systematic studies have investigated a possible different role of the HLA genes in the two genders. We performed case-control and family-based analyses of DR-DQ variants in a pediatric CD cohort with the aim of comparing female to male associations and to investigate the paternal/maternal inheritance of the disease-predisposing haplotypes.
METHODS: A total of 281 female and 156 male pediatric celiac patients, 292 nuclear families, and 551 controls were genotyped for HLA-DRB1, DQA1, and DQB1 loci. Odds ratio, parental origin of the disease-associated haplotypes, and transmission ratio distortion were evaluated in-between male and female cases.
RESULTS: DQ2/DQ8 were more frequent in female than in male patients (94% F, 85% M; P = 1.6 x 10(-3)) with a 99.1% and 90.5% calculated negative predictive value of the HLA test, respectively. Surprisingly, the majority of the 39 DQ2/DQ8 negative cases were male. The analysis of the DQ2 haplotype origin showed that 61% of female patients and 42% of male patients carried a paternal combination (P = 0.02). The transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) proved the major distortion in the DR3-DQ2 transmission from fathers to daughters.
CONCLUSIONS: CD is confirmed to be more prevalent in female than in male (F:M = 1.8) but, in DQ2/DQ8 negative patients, we found an unexpected male excess (F:M = 0.7). Moreover, only the inheritance of a paternal DQ2 haplotype led to a daughters predominance. These data show a role of HLA genes on the disease sex bias and suggest a possible different effect of parent-specific epigenetic modifications in the two genders.
Article Published Date : Apr 01, 2008
Study Type : Human Study
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on September 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
Gerona, RR, TJ Woodruff, CA Dickenson, J Pan, JM Schwartz, S Sen, M Friesen, VY Fujimoto and PA Hunt. 2013. BPA, BPA glucuronide, and BPA sulfate in mid-gestation umbilical cord serum in a northern California cohort. Environmental Science and Technology http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es402764d
Synopsis by EHN Staff
A new study in California found bisphenol A in all samples of umbilical cord blood obtained from pregnant women, suggesting universal fetal exposure. More than one-third of the samples had levels comparable to or higher than levels associated with health effects in animals.
All samples of umbilical cord blood obtained from pregnant women in California had detectable levels of bisphenol A, suggesting "universal fetal exposure," according to newly published research.
The study is the first to show that second-trimester fetuses are widely exposed to relatively high levels of BPA, an estrogen-like substance found in polycarbonate plastic, food can liners and other commonplace consumer products.
The scientists sampled cord blood from the fetuses of 85 women who had undergone elective abortions at a San Francisco clinic that serves Northern and Central California.
Three of the samples had BPA levels higher than ever reported in other umbilical cord blood, which had been collected from full-term fetuses. Thirty-six percent had levels comparable to or higher than those associated with developmental effects in animal tests.
"Our findings suggest universal fetal exposure to BPA in our study population, with some at relatively high levels, and we provide the first evidence of detectable BPA sulfate in mid-gestation fetuses," the scientists from University of California, San Francisco and Washington State University wrote in the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology last week.
BPA at low doses has been linked to an array of developmental effects in animals, particularly neurological and behavioral changes, according to published studies. Whether there are effects on the human fetus is unknown, however. The National Toxicology Program, based on the animal experiments, concluded that there is "some concern" for brain, behavior and prostate effects in infants and children.
Some scientists have said that there should be no detectable levels of the active form of BPA in human blood. They say that the BPA found in people must be caused by laboratory error because nearly all active BPA should be metabolized when it passes through the liver. But in this study, the scientists reported that they tested all the materials used in sample collection and storage to make sure they were BPA-free.
Laura Vandenberg, a scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who studies BPA but was not part of this study, said "these results should go a long way toward dispelling the myth that all BPA in human blood is the result of accidental contamination during sampling."
For this study, the scientists developed a new technology for testing BPA in cord blood, allowing them to measure three types of BPA, including the first discovery of BPA sulfate in cord blood. BPA sulfate is a form that is created when BPA passes through the liver.
Previous studies have tested pregnant women's blood, amniotic fluid, placenta and cord blood, but none had examined mid-gestation samples.
"Our median BPA levels are similar to those measured in term umbilical cord serum from larger studies, [however] the concentrations of BPA in our study include the highest levels reported to date," the researchers wrote.
The data suggest that the immaturity of the fetus's metabolic system and its "saturation" with BPA "may both act to increase fetal exposure to BPA during early to mid-gestation," the authors wrote. Animal studies previously have shown that fetal levels of BPA in certain tissues can exceed the mother's levels.
One possible explanation for the higher levels is that the women were primarily low-income and more ethnically diverse than the general U.S. population. Previous research suggests ethnicity and socio-economic factors may contribute to exposure differences. Also, the new analytic technique could be more accurate than the techniques used to test other cord blood.
In this population, there was large variability in the amount of active BPA compared to the converted forms. Active BPA ranged from less than one one-hundredth to over 400 times the other two forms. If the liver's metabolism were as effective as assumed by the Food and Drug Administration, active BPA would be virtually undetectable in blood and less than a tiny fraction of metabolized BPA.
These findings challenge the regulatory assumptions about BPA safety. It has been assumed that all consumed BPA passes into the liver. But a study published earlier this year suggested why this assumption may be false. It showed that significant amounts of active BPA can be absorbed in the mouth and then passed directly into the bloodstream. These new data are consistent with that finding.
"Overall our findings point to the importance of fetal exposure to BPA during development and the need to accurately assess the full range of human exposure during pregnancy," the authors wrote.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on August 20, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Dadvand, P, J Sunyer, X Basagaña, F Ballester, A Lertxundi, A Fernández-Somoano, M Estarlich, R García-Esteban, MA Mendez and NJ Nieuwenhuijsen. 2012 Surrounding greenness and pregnancy outcomes in four Spanish birth cohorts. Environmental Health Perspectives http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205244.
Synopsis by Glenys Webster
Pregnant women living in areas with more plants and trees gave birth to slightly heavier babies with slightly larger heads, reports a new study from Spain. The results are among the first to show the benefits of green space for pregnancy outcomes and bolsters previous evidence linking green spaces to improved human health. The benefits may be higher for women of lower socioeconomic status.
Living in areas with more plants and vegetation during pregnancy may increase fetal growth but not the length of pregnancy, a new study from Spain reports.
On average, babies born to mothers living in "greener" areas – places covered with more plant life – had higher birth weights and slightly larger head circumference compared to babies whose mothers lived in areas with lower plant cover. Effects were stronger in women with lower education, suggesting increased benefits of green space in areas with lower socioeconomic status.
This is one of the first times that surrounding greenness has been linked to improved pregnancy outcomes. The results are important because low birth weight is linked to health problems in early life, as well as to longterm health effects such as cardiovascular disease.
The results give urban planners another reason to consider increasing green space in an effort to improve public health.
Researchers examined 2,393 pregnant women from four different birth groups from the Iberian Peninsula of Spain between 2003 and 2008. An index of “greenness” up to 500 meters around each woman’s home was generated using satellite images.
On average, babies born to moms living in areas with more plant cover were 1.5 ounces (44 grams) heavier and had head circumferences 0.05 to 0.07 inches (1.2 to 1.7 millimeters) larger than babies whose mothers lived in areas with less vegetation. The results were after taking into account maternal age, ethnicity, education level and other factors.
Head circumference is an indicator of brain size, which in turn is thought to affect IQ. The effects were strongest in babies born to moms with lower education, suggesting that increasing green space may have the most benefit in socioeconomically deprived areas. No effect was seen on length of pregnancy.
Green spaces are thought to improve health by increasing the physical activity of nearby residents, reducing stress and depression, increasing social contact, reducing noise and air pollution, and helping to regulate temperatures in urban areas. All of these factors may also improve pregnancy outcomes.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on August 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
EPIGENETICS AND INHERITANCE
We used to think that a new embryo's epigenome was completely erased and rebuilt from scratch. But this isn't completely true. Some epigenetic tags remain in place as genetic information passes from generation to generation, a process called epigenetic inheritance.
Epigenetic inheritance is an unconventional finding. It goes against the idea that inheritance happens only through the DNA code that passes from parent to offspring. It means that a parent's experiences, in the form of epigenetic tags, can be passed down to future generations.
As unconventional as it may be, there is little doubt that epigenetic inheritance is real. In fact, it explains some strange patterns of inheritance geneticists have been puzzling over for decades.
Overcoming the Reprogramming Barrier
Most complex organisms develop from specialized reproductive cells (eggs and sperm in animals). Two reproductive cells meet, then they grow and divide to form every type of cell in the adult organism. In order for this process to occur, the epigenome must be erased through a process called "reprogramming."
Reprogramming is important because eggs and sperm develop from specialized cells with stable gene expression profiles. In other words, their genetic information is marked with epigenetic tags. Before the new organism can grow into a healthy embryo, the epigenetic tags must be erased.
At certain times during development (the timing varies among species), specialized cellular machinery scours the genome and erases its epigenetic tags in order to return the cells to a genetic "blank slate." Yet, for a small minority of genes, epigenetic tags make it through this process and pass unchanged from parent to offspring.
Reprogramming resets the epigenome of the early embryo so that it can form every type of cell in the body. In order to pass to the next generation, epigenetic tags must avoid being erased during reprogramming.
Bypassing Reproductive Cells
Epigenetic marks can pass from parent to offspring in a way that completely bypasses egg or sperm, thus avoiding the epigenetic purging that happens during early development.
Most of us were taught that our traits are hard-coded in the DNA that passes from parent to offspring. Emerging information about epigenetics may lead us to a new understanding of just what inheritance is.
Nurturing behavior in rats
Rat pups who receive high or low nurturing from their mothers develop epigenetic differences that affect their response to stress later in life. When the female pups become mothers themselves, the ones that received high quality care become high nurturing mothers. And the ones that received low quality care become low nurturing mothers. The nurturing behavior itself transmits epigenetic information onto the pups' DNA, without passing through egg or sperm.
TRY YOUR HAND AT BEING A RAT MOTHER: LICK YOUR RATS!
Mammals can experience a hormone-triggered type of diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. When the mother has gestational diabetes, the developing fetus is exposed to high levels of the sugar glucose. High glucose levels trigger epigenetic changes in the daughter's DNA, increasing the likelihood that she will develop gestational diabetes herself.
In mammals, about 1% of genes escape epigenetic reprogramming through a process called Imprinting.
The Challenges of Proving Epigenetic Inheritance
Proving epigenetic inheritance is not always straightforward. To provide a watertight case for epigenetic inheritance, researchers must:
◾Rule out the possibility of genetic changes
In organisms with larger genomes, a single mutation can hide like a needle in a haystack.
◾Show that the epigenetic effect can pass through enough generations to rule out the possibility of direct exposure
In a pregnant mother, three generations are directly exposed to the same environmental conditions at the same time. An epigenetic effect that continues into the 4th generation could be inherited and not due to direct exposure.
Researchers face the added challenge that epigenetic changes are transient by nature. That is, the epigenome changes more rapidly than the relatively fixed DNA code. An epigenetic change that was triggered by environmental conditions may be reversed when environmental conditions change again.
Three generations at once are exposed to the same environmental conditions (diet, toxins, hormones, etc.). In order to provide a convincing case for epigenetic inheritance, an epigenetic change must be observed in the 4th generation.
Implications for Evolution
Epigenetic inheritance adds another dimension to the modern picture of evolution. The genome changes slowly, through the processes of random mutation and natural selection. It takes many generations for a genetic trait to become common in a population. The epigenome, on the other hand, can change rapidly in response to signals from the environment. And epigenetic changes can happen in many individuals at once. Through epigenetic inheritance, some of the experiences of the parents may pass to future generations. At the same time, the epigenome remains flexible as environmental conditions continue to change. Epigenetic inheritance may allow an organism to continually adjust its gene expression to fit its environment - without changing its DNA code.
Fish, E.W., Shahrokh, D., Bagot, R., Caldji, C., Bredy, T., Szyf, M., and Meaney, M.J. (2004). Epigenetic programming of stress responses through variations in maternal care. Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1036: 167-180 (subscription required).
Youngson, N.A. and Whitelaw, E. (2008). Transgenerational epigenetic effects. Annual Reviews in Genomics and Human Genetics 9: 233-57 (subscription required).
Kaati, G., Bygren, L.O., Pembrey, M., and Sjostrom, J. (2007). Transgenerational response to nutrition, early life circumstances and longevity. European Journal of Human Genetics 15: 784-790.
Chong, S., and Whitelaw, E. (2004). Epigenetic germline inheritance. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 14: 692-696 (subscription required).
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on July 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
Apr. 13, 2009 — Research into epigenetics has shown that environmental factors affect characteristics of organisms. These changes are sometimes passed on to the offspring. ETH professor Renato Paro does not believe that this opposes Darwin’s theory of evolution.
A certain laboratory strain of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has white eyes. If the surrounding temperature of the embryos, which are normally nurtured at 25 degrees Celsius, is briefly raised to 37 degrees Celsius, the flies later hatch with red eyes. If these flies are again crossed, the following generations are partly red-eyed – without further temperature treatment – even though only white-eyed flies are expected according to the rules of genetics.
Environment affects inheritance
Researchers in a group led by Renato Paro, professor for Biosystems at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE), crossed the flies for six generations. In this experiment, they were able to prove that the temperature treatment changes the eye colour of this specific strain of fly, and that the treated individual flies pass on the change to their offspring over several generations. However, the DNA sequence for the gene responsible for eye colour was proven to remain the same for white-eyed parents and red-eyed offspring.
The concept of epigenetics offers an explanation for this result. Epigenetics examines the inheritance of characteristics that are not set out in the DNA sequence. For Paro, epigenetic mechanisms form an additional, paramount level of information to the genetic information of DNA.
Such phenomena could only be examined in a descriptive manner in the past. Today, it has been scientifically proven, which molecular structures are involved: important factors are the histones, a kind of packaging material for the DNA, in order to store DNA in an ordered and space-saving way. It is now clear that these proteins have additional roles to play. Depending on the chemical group they carry, if they are acetylated or methylated, they permanently activate or deactivate genes. New methods now allow researchers to sometimes directly show which genes have been activated or deactivated by the histones.
Cells have a memory
Epigenetic marks, such as the modifications of the histones, are also important for the specialisation of the body’s cells. They are preserved during cell division and are passed on to the daughter cells. If skin cells divide, more skin cells are created; liver cells form liver cells. In both cell types, all genes are deactivated except the ones needed by a skin or liver cell to be a skin or liver cell, and to function appropriately. The genetic information of the DNA is passed on along with the relevant epigenetic information for the respective cell type.
Paro’s group is researching this cell memory. It is still unclear how the epigenetic markers are passed on to the daughter cells. During cell division, the DNA is doubled, which requires the histones – as the current picture suggests – to break apart. The question is therefore how cellular memory encoded by epigenetic mechanisms survives cell division.
Emerging area of research
A similar question remains for the inheritance of the epigenetic characteristics from parents to offspring. They now know that when the gametes are formed, certain epigenetic markers remain and are passed on to the offspring. The questions, which are currently being researched, are how much and which part of the epigenetic information is preserved and subsequently inherited.
The research is also looking at the influence of various substances from the environment on the epigenetic constitution of organisms, including humans. Diet and epigenetics appear to be closely linked. The most well known example is that of the Agouti mice: they are yellow, fat and are prone to diabetes and cancer. If Agouti females are fed with a cocktail of vitamin B12, folic acid and cholin, directly prior to and during pregnancy, they give birth to mainly brown, slim and healthy offspring. They in turn mainly have offspring similar to themselves.
Contradiction to Darwin?
Environmental factors, which change the characteristics of an individual and are then passed on to its offspring, do not really fit into Darwin’s theory of evolution. According to his theory, evolution is the result of the population and not the single individual. “Passing on the gained characteristics fits more to Lamarck’s theory of evolution”, says Paro.
However, he still does not believe Darwin’s theory of evolution is put into question by the evidence of epigenetics research. “Darwin was 100 percent right”, Paro emphasises. For him, epigenetics complement Darwin’s theory. In his view, new characteristics are generated and passed on via epigenetics, subject to the same mechanisms of evolution as those with a purely genetic origin.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on June 24, 2013 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
Thursday, June 20, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Flinstones vitamins, multivitamins, synthetic additives
(NaturalNews) Do you know all the ingredients contained in the multivitamin you feed to your children? Thousands of American parents apparently do not, as one of the top selling multivitamins for children, Flintstones Vitamins, is loaded with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), aspartame, aluminum, petroleum-derived artificial colors, and all sorts of other toxic additives that are literally poisonous to humans, and especially to children.
One would assume that because it is a "multivitamin," and one marketed specifically to children, that it contains only nutritious ingredients in the most appropriate doses and nothing more. To the contrary, the Flintstones Vitamins brand, which is manufactured by global drug giant Bayer, contains a host of synthetic additives that are actually banned in many countries due to their toxicity not only in humans but also in the environment.
A quick look at the Flintstones Complete Chewables page, for instance, reveals a laundry list of additives that serve absolutely no nutritional purpose whatsoever. Refined sugars, sorbitol, ferrous fumarate, hydrogenated soybean oil, GM corn starch, and artificial, aluminum-based food colorings top the list of questionable additives in this particular children's multivitamin. Also included in the mix is a host of synthetic compounds labeled as vitamins, all of which have minimal bioavailability.
"Bayer's Flintstones vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumer should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it," writes Sayer Ji on his health site GreenMedInfo.com about the issue. "It is important to hold accountable brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification."
You can view the full ingredients list for Flintstones Complete Chewables here:
The rest of the Flintstones vitamin line is not much better. Flintstones Complete Gummies, which are labeled on the company's site as having a "new formula," contain many of the same toxic additives. Artificial flavors, coal tar-based artificial coloring agents, and synthetic isolated vitamin compounds are all present in this particular vitamin formula as well.
Many of the 'vitamins' used in Flintstones are considered hazardous substances in Europe
Interestingly, many of the ingredients promoted in Flintstones vitamins as helping children get their daily intake of nutrients are actually listed as hazardous or outright banned in places like the European Union (EU), where additive safety is taken more seriously. Cupric oxide, for instance, which is listed as a supposedly nutritional source of copper in Flintstones vitamins, is actually classified as a "hazardous substance" in the EU's Dangerous Substance Directive.
Similarly, zinc oxide, which is often added to conventional sunscreen products, is listed as a substance that is "dangerous for the environment." Not only is zinc oxide a poor choice for a zinc supplement as the human body can hardly recognize or use it, but the EU Dangerous Substance Directive considers the substance to be an environmental hazard - how, then, can it be considered healthy for children to ingest?
Then there is the issue of the extreme neurotoxicity of aspartame, which has no place in the human food supply, let alone in children's multivitamins. And the same goes for artificial colors, which have been shown in scientific studies to trigger attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and various other behavioral disorders in children - why add these to vitamins in the first place?
Parents looking for an alternative to mainstream vitamins like Flintstones may want to take a look at whole food-based vitamin supplement brands like MegaFood, Garden of Life, and Pure Synergy. These brands use vitamins and nutrients derived from whole foods rather than laboratory concoctions, which means the body can assimilate them more effectively.
To learn more about the differences between whole food-based and synthetic vitamins, visit:
Sources for this article include: