How DNA Methylation Affects Your Genes.
What Is DNA Methylation?
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism by which a methyl group (CH3) is added to a nucleotide of the DNA.
In 1948, Rollin Hotchkiss discovered the components of DNA. It includes four nucleobases: thymine, guanine, adenine, and cytosine. (T, G, A and C). He also discovered epicytosine, which is greater than cytosine in terms of migration rate.
Although researchers speculated that DNA methylation might influence and mediate gene expression, it wasn’t until later in the 1980s, that DNA methylation was found to be crucial to gene expression and cell differentiation.
In recent discoveries, DNA methylation has proven its vitality to certain cellular processes such as X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, carcinogenesis, and chromosome stability. Besides, some odd methylated DNA might be the reason for dangerous diseases.
Its Function in Epigenetics
The process of adding a methyl group to a specific place of DNA can block the attached proteins from “reading” the gene. This chemically and genetically stable and reversible process is “methylation,” whereas dropping the methyl group means “demethylation.”
Methylation can restrain the expression of certain genes and/or turn off tumor-causing genes and other dangerous DNA sequences.
Scientists are expanding research into the link between DNA methylation and human diseases like cancer and lupus. Despite most studies involving only animals and cell samples, a few experiments on humans have returned results.
DNA Methylation and Diseases
Many studies have demonstrated the link between faulty DNA methylation and diseases such as lupus, cancer, and various birth defects. One of the human diseases that share the most obvious link with methylated DNA is cancer. This process is called “Hypermethylation”. In such cases, the more DNA damages are generated, the higher the risk of cancer becomes.
The erosion of DNA determines each individual’s aging process, which is called biological age, rather than chronological age. Since everyone ages differently, aging is another complication of epigenetic methylation, depending on their genetics and lifestyle choices.
Additionally, faster epigenetic age is associated with several age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Maintain Your DNA Methylation Cycle
As you might guess, nutrition does play a massive role in the methylation cycle. So don’t miss out on foods that contain with these nutrients:
- Folate: ideally, it’s commended that adults get 400 mcg per day. Folate is available in citrus fruit, spinach, asparagus, Brussel sprouts,…
- Choline: 425mg for women and 550mg for men. Choline is available in salmon, beef liver, broccoli, and cottage cheese.
- Vitamin B-12: mainly sourced from animal products, so vegetarians should try supplements instead; daily intake for adults is 2.4mcg. You can find vitamin B-12 in meat, fish, shellfish, chicken, eggs, and dairy products.
- Vitamin B-6: 1.3 mg per day is recommended for adults between 19 and 50. Sources include organ meats, poultry, fish, and starchy vegetables.
The rise of DNA methylation slowly catches the attention of everyone. To help your DNA methylation operate better, you should try adding beneficial foods to your diet. While supplements are better choices in case you are allergic to some options. It’s best to consult your doctor first to avoid any health issues.
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