Cancer is associated with multiple iterations of detrimental mutation variations, of both activating and suppressor kinds, in the genome over time. We all react differently to nutrition and the end result is a function of gene diet interaction along with our genetic susceptibility to cancer. During normal cell division the code of the DNA genes is transcribed ( or expressed!) into RNA, a copy of which is translated into proteins that do the work of signaling, communication and controlling metabolism. Over the course of a few billion iterations a handful of errant mutations do happen, but they usually are taken care of by the body’s regulatory mechanisms like suppressor genes. It is epigenetic ( i.e in addition to the changes in genetic sequence) regulation that ensures which genes are transcribed to RNA in each cell. One such more researched epigenetic process involves methylation which stems from either addition or removal of methyl group (CH3) to the the DNA’s genetic base.
Epigenetic regulation is impacted by multiple factors which include nutrition, behavior and environment. This for instance, can lead to either hyper-methylation or hypo-methylation, both of which are associated with adverse epigenetic regulation which in turn is associated with cancer and a host of other non-communicable diseases. Besides, these epigenetic changes could endure at least four subsequent generations.
Here are some observations from recent and ongoing vitamin related nutrition research on the topic:
- B Vitamins ( folate, folic acid, B2, B6 B12 and especially folate), according to a growing body of evidence, modulate epigenetic mechanisms, disturbance in which is associated with cancer and other diseases.
- Vitamin C or ascorbate can be epigenetically involved in cancer and other diseases.
- Vitamin D is central to many body processes. It plays a central role in hormone physiology and the maintenance of a normal epigenetic landscape.
While the above discussion is only illustrative and certainly not exhaustive , as a takeaway please request your doctor to track Vitamin D and and other micronutrient levels on an annual basis. Your insurance may not cover these tests because they are deemed investigational, but you owe it to yourself and future generations don’t you?
Remember that gulping the alphabet vitamin soup is not a magical way to be healthy. Excess and deficiency of nutrients could be both harmful and it is important to maintain a diverse nutritional intake which ensures a normal level of micronutrients in the body. Alas, the body is a complex system which needs to be in harmony both internally and with external stimuli for proper functioning. There are just no shortcuts!
References: “Epigenetics and Lifestyle” by Jorge Alexjandro-Torres and others ( NCBI), ” The Epigenetic Role of Vitamin C in Health and Disease” by Vladimir Camarena and others (NCBI); “Vitamin D and the epigenome” by Irfete S. Fetahu and others (NCBI)
All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.