Can genetics be altered by adapting your diet?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 01, 2013 at 5:13 AM

Let's say heart disease is commonly passed through your family. Will adapting to a more paleolithic diet change that?

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5 Answers



on January 01, 2013
at 06:19 AM

You can't change your genetics but you can change your epigenetics, or gene expression. Mark Sisson has an excellent post about it here:



on January 01, 2013
at 06:13 AM

How Our Genes Respond to the Foods We Eat


Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, MD and Luke Shanahan "Every bite you eat changes your genes a little bit,???




on January 01, 2013
at 12:52 PM

I think Peter Attia's story is quite interesting. It's not about changing your genetics per se but rather optimising 'what you have' (showing that you can actually do a lot). Also in this post he has a chart with genes and goals where he somewhat talks about your question.



on January 01, 2013
at 06:10 AM

Well it can certainly AFFECT your chance of getting heart disease. However, aside from the random mutations that can occur daily* your genetics are not really going to change because of what you eat, especially not in such a specific manner.

Of course, a genetic predisposition is not a sentence. Do all you can to avoid it and hope for the best.

*I refer to the mutations that occur due to random mistakes caused in the gene copying process that, hopefully, are usually caught and destroyed. These are the types of mutations that can cause cancer if not properly dealt with by the body.


on January 02, 2013
at 09:42 AM

certain traits like eye color are totally unchangeable by the environment. but other traits like adiposity or leanness or muscularity can be dramatically changed by the environment. such traits can be strongly influenced not just by your environment but the environment of your parents and grandparents (epigenetics).

similarly, certain forms of congenital heart disease cannot be changed by the environment - for instance where there is a structural defect like a hole in a septum that only surgery can correct. but other forms of heart disease that come about with age as a result of inappropriate diet, lack of exercise, smoking, etc can definitely be strongly influenced by the environment. in such cases a paleo diet is an excellent nutritional intervention strategy.

yes, provided the family history is not related to structural defects or arrhythmias.

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