After reading Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shannahan, I've been thinking about the paleo diet in the context of epigenetics. I don't pretend to be have a lot of knowledge of epigentics, but it seems like our diet obviously does impact gene expression. One thing that bothers me is that by avoiding gluten, our bodies are less capable of processing it upon its reintroduction (as demonstrated by anecedotal evidence on PH). For those thinking of having children, I wonder if constant gluten avoidance will lead to our children being very gluten intolerant in the future due to epigenetic factors. As in, deadly intolerant. Would somebody more learned in DNA science be able to answer this question?
I'd think it'd be interesting to examine the diet of the parents of the current generation suffering celiacs disease.
asked byAlexis (892)
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on July 08, 2011
at 11:00 PM
Would you rather have a child with a gluten intolerance, or one who suffers through a life shortened by the myriad of damages caused by blind uninhibited gluten consumption?
On the one hand as a celiac, he/she may experience an autoimmune response that is immediate and harsh but also isolated and temporary. It is much easier to manage this single event than it is to live life in a body where every major system is thrown off balance by regular gluten intake. That is a lifelong sentence even if no one single episode strikes the same level of fear into the parents and family.
As for epigenetics, I would argue that DNA damage caused by gluten has been concentrating down family lines for 10,000 years since it was first introduced into the food supply. What we see now in chronic diseases, illness, is a hint that we as a species are failing to adapt to gluten. By consuming more gluten, we are making it even MORE difficult for our descendants to adapt to it because we are contributing to the DNA damage.
on July 08, 2011
at 11:21 PM
Epigenetics is where diet hits gene transcription right in the mouth. It's a huge factor and it's reversible. Anything that acetylates histones and chaperone is a problem regardless of what many seem to argue. Acetylation come from dietary Ach levels. Worst offenders are fructose, carbs, PUFA's and then wheat. Many want to point out the Kota in story. You don't live like them and neither did your previous two generations. If you understand epigenetics your transcriptional fate is determined by acetylation and methylation patterns of your last few generations. Comparing yourself to a group you have zero in comparison to is an apples to oranges argument. This is one of the best questions I have seen on PH ever.
It is the next level to a paleo diet in the context of what the previous fifty to hundred years has done to our histones and chaperones. What happens to our DNA is a consequence of epigenetics and total darwian genetic determinism. What Watson and crick theorized for thirty years after 1953 has been absolutely totally blown up.
What we know now means we can alter everything about us. It's not about our genes it's about what we do to the genes.
on July 08, 2011
at 10:36 PM
Well, we avoid arsenic because we're deadly intolerant to arsenic. Really, people just need to quit thinking of foods containing gluten as food. They're not foods, they're poison and just shouldn't be eaten.
on May 05, 2013
at 01:10 AM
This is interesting. I wonder if it would be a good idea for a parent to feed their child gluten very irregularly-like, 1x a month just to expose their system to it.
on May 04, 2013
at 06:20 PM
the number glutein assotiated problems has increased in the last decades. glutein was not such a huge problem a century ago. id like to know, if the glutein was different and what else was different.
on July 09, 2011
at 01:43 AM
I know we all have learned so much science in our lives, and it's fun and interesting, but haven't you learned to trust your instincts by now? If you eat paleo, you will be healthier, and have a better chance of a healthier kid and will be able to fight sickness. If you eat SAD, it will be born with less chance of fighting illness. Is there one person who has gotten worse health from going SAD to Paleo?
on December 06, 2012
at 10:28 PM
There is LOT we do not know about gluten intolerance including its association with epigenetics. It looks like there might be some gluten-induced acetylation changes in histon components of our DNA but that is about all we can speculate at this point. Nobody knows for example if gluten intolerance is getting worse or better since 10,000 years ago). There are so many variables in life style of present generations that need to be taken into consideration as well as many great suggestions in this discussion for future research. To me it seems that gluten sensitivity itself or in combination with epigenetics is something that needs to be studied much more.