Certain nutrients can upregulate or turn on ‘good’ genes – like tumour suppressor genes. And others can down-regulate or turn off ‘bad’ genes – such as oncogenes which have the potential to cause cancer.
It’s called ‘gene expression’, part of a new science called Epigenetics. There are foods and nutrients you can include in your diet that can express genes to promote health and even slow biological ageing.
One of the leading researchers in this area is Dr Cynthia Kenyon working at Cambridge University on ageing mechanisms. She says:
“The idea that ageing was subject to control was completely unexpected.”
A study at the University of California at San Francisco showed that hundreds of genes in people who were put on a largely plant-based diet were modified, leading to a lower cancer and heart disease risk.
Plant-derived nutrients that up-regulate genes to promote health include the polyphenols in green tea, lycopene, lutein and genistein, which is a compound in soy.
Other nutrients that have been shown to positively activate gene expression are choline, folic acid, B6 and B12, a B vitamin called betaine, vitamin D3 and minerals that include zinc and selenium.
Vitamins B6 & B12
Chromosomes are condensed rods of DNA which have 4 ‘arms’. At the end of each arm is a telomere – a tiny protective ‘cap’ often likened to the plastic end of a shoelace.
Each time a cell divides to make a new copy the telomere gets fractionally shorter. When the end of the telomere is finally reached, the cell dies. So scientists believe the length of your telomeres may be a good marker of biological ageing and mortality.
Research shows that the rate at which telomeres become shorter can be slowed down by anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants like Omega 3 and polyphenols.
Vitamins C & E
Green tea and Grapeseed polyphenols
Your body is made of organs, organs are made of tissue and tissues are made of cells. You make billions of new cells every day!
Since cells are constantly dying and being replaced, the foundation of a healthy body is to ensure every part of every new cell has the nutrients it needs to regenerate itself and function at peak effectiveness. Other nutrients help slow cell breakdown.
We talk about ‘age related’ illness like heart disease, diabetes, dementia and chronic tiredness, but the passing of the years has much less effect than sub-optimal nutrition and lifestyle.
Encasing each cell is a membrane made up of proteins, cholesterol and fatty acids. These fats give the membrane its flexibility and structure.
If your diet has insufficient high quality fatty acids in it, the membrane has to build itself with low quality fats, becoming stiffer, less permeable and less able to allow essential nutrients in or wastes out.
Omega 3 fatty acids help build healthy, flexible cell membranes. Some 50% of the eye’s photoreceptors are made up of Omega 3 oils, as are over 40% of brain cell fats.
As the brain is high in fats, it is vulnerable to oxidation and inflammation, so it needs anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.
Vitamins C & E
Green tea and Grapeseed polyphenols
Because cell membranes have a high unsaturated fatty acid content, they are very vulnerable to free radical damage. Free radical damage occurs when fats react with oxygen – and you can see the process when a fat like lard becomes rancid. The illustration left represents how free radicals can attack and damage a cell.
Nutrients that can provide protection are called anti-oxidants. They create a “shield” that “quenches” or absorbs free radicals. There is evidence that polyphenols called anthocyanins found in coloured berries – like blueberries, bilberries, raspberries and blackcurrants – are especially powerful neuro-protectors. They help protect brain cells.
Each cell membrane must do something else that is vital. Cells need to sense each other’s boundaries. They do that by what is called ‘cell signalling’. When they cannot signal their boundaries, the result can be uncontrolled cell growth – cancer.
Researchers have found that vitamin D, the carotenoid lycopene, the xanthophyll lutein and the B vitamin choline are important to ensure normal cell signalling and, by extension, cutting the risk of cancer.
Pub Med, the on-line publishing arm of the American National Institutes of Health, confirms that carotenoids ‘can be useful in the prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases’.
Inside each cell are a nucleus and mitochondria, which are normally likened to miniature ‘power plants’. Heart, brain and muscle cells have the most mitochondria, because they have high energy demands.
Inside mitochondria, the energy from food is transferred to energy storage molecules such as ATP. The nutrient Co-enzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is vital in this process. A lack of CoQ10 – which declines with age – is a cause of lack of energy.
Anti-oxidants are needed for protection because oxidative damage to mitochondria contributes to the ageing process.
Vitamins C & E
During the continual process of cell replication, mistakes and damage to DNA occasionally, but inevitably, occur.
If a cell has accumulated a lot of DNA damage, it can trigger the start of a cancerous tumour where cells do not stop growing and dividing.
Researchers have discovered that selenium, zinc, the carotenoids lutein and lycopene, and a compound called isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables are among compounds important in the DNA repair mechanism.
Cumulative DNA damage is thought to further contribute to the ageing process, and is involved in certain diseases including cancer.
What is called ‘chronic, sub-clinical inflammation’ is now known to be a major cause of the degenerative killer diseases.
This type of inflammation builds up in tissues over time, but you can’t see or feel it – which is why Time Magazine calls it ‘the silent killer’.
New Scientist recently confirms it’s involved in: “… muscle wasting and glaucoma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and arthritis, heart failure and high blood pressure, cancers, and lung, liver and kidney and skin disorders.”
Inflammation increases with age and affects most people after the age of about 50. Risks rise further if you are a city dweller exposed to air pollution from particulates, living a low-energy lifestyle and consuming processed foods.
The body uses fatty acids from the food we eat to make the hormones called eicosanoids that control the inflammatory response.
Omega 6 fatty acids, found in polyunsaturated plant oils like safflower, sunflower, palm and corn oil, increase the level of hormones that promote inflammation. These oils are frequently used in processed foods because they are cheap. They are also put into feeds for animals intensively raised for meat consumption.
Omega 3 fatty acids (from oily fish) have the opposite effect, producing eicosanoids that reduce inflammation.
The American Cancer Institute now recommends nine portions of fruits and vegetables a day!
Fruits and vegetables not only promote positive gene expression, they contain, amongst other compounds, flavonoids – polyphenol molecules. These exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
Polyphenols also help block the potentially highly destructive action of enzymes called MMPs which are directly responsible for the tissue damage that turns chronic inflammation into overt disease – and creates an environment where cancer can spread.
So increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
If 9 portions of fruit and veg is a challenge,
take a supplement with plant polyphenols like lycopene, lutein, grapeseed
If there is an excess of sugar in the body, protein molecules can react with sugar molecules and form cross-links with other proteins. This is called glycation and once a protein is glycated it is damaged and unable to perform its proper function.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and when collagen is glycated, the result is reduced flexibility of organs, hardened arteries, hypertension, impaired muscle function and kidney damage. Externally it manifests as loss of elasticity, wrinkles and accelerated skin ageing.
Internally, excess glycation is linked to damage to the lining of blood vessels (and hence heart disease), the stiffening of the lens of the eye and the formation of cataracts. Glycemic stress is linked to Alzheimer’s.
Your immune system defends you against pathogen invaders like viruses and bacteria and against internal ‘rogue’ cells.
Unfortunately the immune system is slower to respond as we age, which is why extra support is important.
Foods that support the immune system include mushrooms (especially shiitake and maitake mushrooms), dark berry fruits, cabbage, spinach, broccoli and kale, pumpkins, citrus fruits for their vitamin C content, green tea, garlic, and wheat germ which is high in vitamin E.
The microbes in your gut are called your microbiome. These microbes make some essential vitamins like B and K. They are also vital to your immune system.
If the numbers and range of these ‘friendly’ microbes is reduced – which happens for example if you are on antibiotics or have a sub-optimal diet – you become much more vulnerable to pathogens and infections like C difficile and salmonella.
Diseases as widely different as asthma, diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease have been shown to be influenced by the microbiome.
If the microbiome is not properly nourished, the gut becomes more permeable, which can allow toxins to leak into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation.
Different gut microbes need different types of ‘food’ to feed on and thrive.
These include prebiotic fibres found in peas, beans, lentils, oats, in fibrous fruits like figs, apples, dates, prunes and in vegetables like asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions, broccoli, cabbage and root vegetables.
Your microbiome also benefits from fermented probiotic foods like sauerkraut, tempeh, buttermilk, sourdough bread and miso soup.
On average we are living longer – but too often the later years are characterised by illness.
We now know that the causes of these illnesses are all interconnected. It looks complicated but two common problems underlie all of them – lack of physical activity and sub-optimal nutrition.
The solution then is clear. By increasing the level of the foods and nutrients we have highlighted in this presentation you can dramatically reduce the risk and threat of so-called ‘age related diseases’. And slow biological ageing.
Counteracting all seven causes of ageing requires consistent daily levels of a wide range of nutrients. And those needs increase over time. The American Cancer Society recommends 9 portions of fruits and vegetables a day!
The average person burns 1,000 calories a day less than 60 years ago! So we’ve had to reduce our food (calorie) intake. But less food means less nutrition.
To compound the problem, the nutritional value of many foods has declined over the same period.
A simple low-cost one-a-day A-Z vitamin pill might be enough in your twenties and thirties. But it won’t include the other nutrients that support the 7 pillars of health as you get older.
NutriShield Premium contains over 40 powerful nutrients, including
• A full range of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins K1 and K2, and natural Vitamin E in the full spectrum of tocopherols and tocotrienols
• Flavonoids and polyphenols that include curcumin, green tea, bilberry and grapeseed extract
• Omega 3 fish oil
• Carotenoids, especially lycopene, lutein and beta carotene
• Glucosamine andBetaine
• Co-enzyme Q10
• Soy isoflavones (genistein)
Even a conscientious person will struggle to obtain the range and levels of the preventative nutrients we have identified, day after day.
In formulating NutriShield, we have drawn on over 30 years of scientific and medical research to design the combination of nutrients – in optimum, synergistic amounts and the most bio-available forms – that support the full, healthy functioning of brain and body. It’s a heart, brain, skin, joint and eye supplement all in one.
Coupled with a sensible diet and moderate exercise, it gives you the foundation for long term health and energy. It works: an independent test showed NutriShield dramatically reduces inflammatory markers at the cell level. And 87% of our customers come from word of mouth recommendation.
Click for more information and to order online or by phone ImmunoShield is an immune support supplement with 1-3, 1-6 beta glucans