by Birgitta Lauren – June 12, 2011
Epidemiologist Rebecca J. Schmidt of the UC Davis MIND Institute and colleagues found that women who did not take prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy doubled their risk of having an autistic child. Those women who also had a mutation in a high risk gene were 7 times as likely to have an autistic child. The researchers found that the sooner a woman started her vitamins the less chance of autism. They also found 2 gene mutations called MTHFR and COMT which increase homocysteine levels and reduced Folate metabolism, increasing the risk 4. 5 and 7 times respectively if mom didn’t supplement. This proves how important nutrition is during pregnancy and gives an inexpensive easy way for women to reduce the risk for her baby.
But nutrition is not all that affects Epigenome. Epigenome being the code that determines which of our genetic DNA will be switched on or off or how much. Sort of like the software telling your DNA hardware what to do. Many things affect your Epigenome depending on lifestyle choices and exposure. Such as:
The most vulnerable time for changes to the Epigenome is of course during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester when our DNA is formed. In a 2009 Duke University study on epigenetics and autism, published in the Journal BMC Medicine they found that kids with autism had their Epigenome turning off genes necessary for oxytocin response that helps with social interaction. Puberty is another important time of epigenetic changes that can be severely affected by irresponsible behavior…. But we (women and men) can continue to affect and change or Epigenome and therefore DNA throughout our lives, which in turn will affect our health and the health of our children and grandchildren… who’s DNA will be affected or molded by their future lifestyle and exposure etc… our DNA and therefore health is moldable and changeable indefinitely for better or worse.
The chemicals that make up the epigenetic code ultimately come from your diet. Folate for instance is needed to turn off unwanted DNA. Pregnant mice fed Folate and other nutrients have lean, brown pups. Those not fed vitamins had yellow, fat pups prone to diabetes. Mice exposed to BPA plastic chemicals also produced yellow, fat pups, but not if they were also fed Folate and other vitamins. Proving further how important nutrition is in acting like a safety net, preventing toxic side-effects. Smoking is dangerous epigenetic factor that can seriously affect development and cancer.
Our DNA is not always completely “on” or “off”, but works sort of like on a dimmer switch depending on factors. One study at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito CA, studied men with prostate cancer who voluntarily practiced a special 3 months program of exercise, behavior and a healthy diet, without medical treatment. After the program their biopsies showed 48 genes turned up and 453 turned down.
Genes are inheritable, but it depends on what you do with them. Randy Jirtle, epigenetic scientist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. say’s: -“The thing I love about epigenetics is that you have the potential to alter your destiny” and my favorite quote: – “You now have a major responsibility… to optimize your Epigenome.”
If we know that prenatal vitamins can help prevent autism, does get the vaccines off the hook? NO!
The more we get to know from epigenetic studies of how things affect our health the more responsible we need to be when it comes to toxic exposure of drugs and chemicals. The fewer chemicals we are exposed to the better. When we are exposed, nutritional safety nets needs to be considered. When/if any or certain vaccines are needed, they need to be spread out over time and not given in multiple doses. Mom’s nutritional intake and chemical exposure needs to be evaluated before babies are inoculated. There is mercury in all vaccines as a preservative, among formaldehyde and many other chemicals. And I do believe we need to re-educate ourselves on the immunological importance of some so-called childhood diseases, many of which I have had as a kid, as my mom made sure I got them to protect me in the future. Since when is measles so bad – it may be a bit itchy, but nothing worse than any flu. Besides it seemed to warrant a lot of ice cream…
“DNA referees”, by Amber Dance. LA Times May 3rd 2011, “Prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of autism by half, even more for some higher – risk cases”, by Thomas H. Maugh II. LA Times May 25th, 2011