DNA Methylation

| Post published on April 6, 2021
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DNA

Flagging up why a vegan diet is best

The DNA that makes up your genes is often referred to as the blueprint of life because it contains all the instructions needed for you to grow, live and reproduce. Our genes don’t change when we change our diet but the way the body interprets them may. Our bodies use a process called methylation to regulate which genes may be read or not read (gene expression). Such modifications can affect the development of chronic, autoimmune or age-related diseases. Researchers interested in seeing if methylation patterns differed between vegans and meat-eaters looked at participants in the Adventist Health Study-2 and found that, yes they did.

This discovery may go some way to helping understand the mechanisms underlying how a healthy vegan diet, containing plenty of fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods, lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Miles FL, Mashchak A, Filippov V et al. 2020. DNA methylation profiles of vegans and non-vegetarians in the Adventist Health Study-2 cohort. Nutrients. 12 (12) 3697.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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