12

votes

Epigenetics and Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 19, 2011 at 5:56 PM

The LA Times Health section (well, yeah) ran an article this morning about the theory that today's obesity epidemic originated in the eating and other habits of women in the 50s and 60s. It attributes the problem to epigenetic changes caused by the pre-natal and natal environment.

Now, epigenetic effects are real, so this isn't inherently impossible. Questions, though:

  1. If obesity and related problems can be substantially reduced or eliminated by eliminating "neolithic agents of disease", wouldn't that undercut the epigenetic theory? Or does it just mean both might be true?

  2. Anybody know of any studies on the epigenetic consequences of ancestral diets?

The Times article is here.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Oh, I know, I'm just the shill

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on December 20, 2011
at 07:44 PM

This is an absolutely awesome question! It would solve many problems if we could get to the bottom of this. However, there's still questions about the introduction of trans fats, carb loading/low fat, and HFCS in the 80's and 90's that still may have an effect.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on December 20, 2011
at 06:19 PM

Personally I can't wait for Quilts revelations :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:58 PM

Loon- I suspect that Kurt Harris doesn't want to be in this ring. But I am highly highly anticipating the AHS12 safe starch roundtable with Quilt, Jaminet, Dr. Cate, and Rosedale. Diabetes, obesity, longevity, rice...GO!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:52 PM

I just knew that 2012 was going to be a big year...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

(193)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:19 AM

Thanks for these links!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I blogged about these studies.....plus one.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:36 AM

His focus is clearly different than mine. You'd have to ask him about his position on this. Mine are different for the young, middle aged, and those interesting in longevity. I have yet to reveal why but in 2012 I will. If you believe all starches are safe all of the times of your life your beliefs are not supported at all by the aging research over the last thirty years. This is an area that this community does not swim because it is dominated by 20-40 yr olds. I think rosedale has hit on this esoterically in his response to Jaminet. But he never really gave the guts of why.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 20, 2011
at 12:53 AM

The ancestral issue was also covered a bit by Dr. Albrecht, who studies the relationship between soil quality, feed quality and animal health during stress.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 20, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Both would probably agree that many of our problems are due to NAD's, but Dr. Harris believes that if you simply remove the NAD's, all will be well. Dr. Kruse believes that you need to reset epigenetic switches.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on December 19, 2011
at 11:22 PM

The Loon - can you clarify what you believe Dr H's position is on this? Thanks

744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

(193)

on December 19, 2011
at 09:38 PM

The Barker hypothesis (thanks) is interesting, though it doesn't reach the issue of ancestral diets (at least not directly from what I read at the link). While I hate to pile on speculation, epigenetics might explain (1) why some people find it so damn hard to lose weight; and (2) why we see such a broad range of differences in things like low carb/high carb.

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6 Answers

4
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 19, 2011
at 09:32 PM

I think that by asking this question, you have just put Dr. Harris and Dr. Kruse in the ring together again, and it appears as if Dr. Kruse is winning. It looks like that in addition to saving the world through optimization, Dr. Kruse also purchased the Times. Maybe someone here might want to ask a new question: What is wrong with the Times?

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on December 19, 2011
at 11:22 PM

The Loon - can you clarify what you believe Dr H's position is on this? Thanks

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 20, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Both would probably agree that many of our problems are due to NAD's, but Dr. Harris believes that if you simply remove the NAD's, all will be well. Dr. Kruse believes that you need to reset epigenetic switches.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:52 PM

I just knew that 2012 was going to be a big year...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:58 PM

Loon- I suspect that Kurt Harris doesn't want to be in this ring. But I am highly highly anticipating the AHS12 safe starch roundtable with Quilt, Jaminet, Dr. Cate, and Rosedale. Diabetes, obesity, longevity, rice...GO!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:36 AM

His focus is clearly different than mine. You'd have to ask him about his position on this. Mine are different for the young, middle aged, and those interesting in longevity. I have yet to reveal why but in 2012 I will. If you believe all starches are safe all of the times of your life your beliefs are not supported at all by the aging research over the last thirty years. This is an area that this community does not swim because it is dominated by 20-40 yr olds. I think rosedale has hit on this esoterically in his response to Jaminet. But he never really gave the guts of why.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on December 20, 2011
at 06:19 PM

Personally I can't wait for Quilts revelations :)

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Oh, I know, I'm just the shill

3
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:47 PM

This is not a either or question.

Epigenetic changes due to fetal programming is not a unlikely factor.

However in a similar way to your genes, epigenetic changes are likely to increase risk rather than determine outcomes.

If epigenetic changes raise your risk of becoming obese from 5 % to 30% this still does not determine that you will become obese. What determines the outcome is still likely to be the environment you grow up in and live in.

3
50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

on December 19, 2011
at 11:07 PM

You asked for "studies on the epigenetic consequences of ancestral diets". I had a story from the Netherlands in my mind about the hungerwinter of WW II and pregnant women. I did a quick search and post a link for "Leiden University": http://www.news.leiden.edu/news/dutch-hunger-winter.html I hope that this link will be helpful for you and your questions. I think you will find several publications dealing with this hungerwinter and its genetic implications. http://www.pnas.org/content/105/44/17046.long http://epigenome.eu/en/2,9,0

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I blogged about these studies.....plus one.

744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

(193)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:19 AM

Thanks for these links!

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on December 19, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I wrote up a "simple" explanation of this for someone a while ago. It covers the "big picture" view of it. Check out the bottom of this post: https://sites.google.com/site/themikelinks/home/what-s-up-with-insulin-resistance

2
9225c8e3ea353a2c604cacd62506047d

on December 19, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I don't know if this is an answer to your questions but a few things might be relevant. The science of epigenetics is a rising star as exemplified by this article in Time magazine last year (which discusses diet and its epigenetic effects) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313,00.html Some of the work which can broadly be headed under the 'Barker hypothesis' on maternal diets during famine might also be relevant: http://questioning-answers.blogspot.com/2011/08/barker-hypothesis-and-thin-fat-bodies.html

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 20, 2011
at 12:53 AM

The ancestral issue was also covered a bit by Dr. Albrecht, who studies the relationship between soil quality, feed quality and animal health during stress.

744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

(193)

on December 19, 2011
at 09:38 PM

The Barker hypothesis (thanks) is interesting, though it doesn't reach the issue of ancestral diets (at least not directly from what I read at the link). While I hate to pile on speculation, epigenetics might explain (1) why some people find it so damn hard to lose weight; and (2) why we see such a broad range of differences in things like low carb/high carb.

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 19, 2011
at 06:32 PM

Well, eliminating NADS help many people overcome obesity, there are plenty of people that still remain overweight. Just look at how many questions on PaleoHacks are along the lines of "Help! Not losing weight."

As far as the epigentic effects of not gaining enough weight during pregnancy, that seems quite plausible. I wonder what effect the smoking recommendation had - In my mind that would be much worse.

None of my grandparents were overweight. Both of my parents were. All of my siblings (5 of them) struggle with weight (mostly losing the battle). My parents were both born within 1 year of 1920. Both smoked heavily (cigarrettes as opposed to Granpa's pipe) and drank coffee constantly. They were exposed to increasing amounts of sugar, flour and margarine/Crisco. Lastly, it was in fashion to bottle feed as only poor folks had to breast feed.

I think all of these contributed massively. But maybe I have paleo blinders on. Teasing out what caused what is fairly impossible with all those confounders (and more that I am not thinking of - toxins anyone?).

And sorry, no - I have nothing to address your second request.

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