T Nation

Changing Genetics Through Food

Ok, I am a long time lurker, I figure there is little reason for asking questions that have already been answered, but now I have a new one.

Anyway, is it possible to change certain genetic predispositions?

I will explain:

I have insulin resistance, so my body creates too much insulin and whatever calories are in my bloodstream at the time get stored as fat. Right now it is no big deal; I just keep a 30/30/40 Protein/Carb/Fat Ratio regardless of bulking or cutting, I follow common dietary sense (no carbs without something to slow absorption) and I?m fine.

I know this is a genetic problem because my mom has it, and the doc said it is hereditary.

My question is, if I further cut carbs (I have never been able to eat more than 30-35% carbs w/o fat gain) to say 20-25% will my body get used to creating less insulin and thus reduce my predisposition to insulin resistance, or will the resistance just come back as soon as I up the carbs again?

I know it is not a very common problem, but hopefully someone will have some info.

Thanks
–Waddle

PS. Does anyone know why I can not use apostrophies?

I’m not so sure you can “change genetics” per se through food. Otherwise, we’d have a lot of 250lb ripped guys walking around. You CAN probably make your situation better though.

Hopefully, some one more qualified can help you out.

Fish oil will help with insulin. Also, if you do have insulin resistance, get metaformin, but be sure you knoe the ramifications of use- lowered test levels.

You can control your insulin by eating less carb and eating thing that won’t make your insulin spike (ie:low-GI food, high fiber meals, acidic food, fats, protein).

Hey, Thanks for the responses.

El Animal, I didn?t figure I could change my genetics per say, but since this is a genetic predisposition, just like some have a genetic predisposition to be lean, or fat, I was hoping there might be a way to combat it, so I could enjoy the occasional treat without knowing it goes straight to fat.

I didn?t know about the fish oil, I?ll have to start taking some, have bottles of the stuff round the house, but I never really took the time to find out what it was for. My mom is on Metaformin, but with me it is not bad enough to justify that.

So far controlling my insulin is the only thing I can do, my sister is diabetic, so I know a lot about blood sugar and food. I have been avoiding insulin spikes myself, but I still have to experiment to see how different foods and food combinations respond in my body.

–Waddle

When talking about genetics, what you’re born with is what you die with. Nothing you do during you life (aside from choosing your mate) is going to affect what genes are passed on to your children.

[quote]Boondoggler wrote:
When talking about genetics, what you’re born with is what you die with. Nothing you do during you life (aside from choosing your mate) is going to affect what genes are passed on to your children.[/quote]

Exactly. What you can do is change your own health and quality of life through the dietary and exercise choices you make.

Nice apostrophies! Hahaha. Let me try one! Didn?t FREAKIN’ COOL! I really like it! You started a fad! Congrats.

I too have insulin resistance (and PCOS - polycystic ovarian syndrome caused by insulin resistance in females). Things you can do to manage the situation are dietary manipulation - I have to be careful with how many complex carbs I ingest and focus instead on getting the majority of my carbs from veggies and fruit and if I eat complex carbs its earlier in the day vs. late in the day.

I still have to keep total carbs to <40% of my diet calories. Making sure the fats you are eating are healthy fats also helps. The second parameter is exercise, especially resistance training, which increases your muscles receptors for insulin/glucose and helps keep blood levels of insulin down.

Weight loss in general, fat loss specifically, also helps keep it in check. If you are truly insulin resistant, drugs like metformin may be needed. Its something you have to learn to live with and manage, but it doesn’t need to limit you from your goals! Good luck!

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
Boondoggler wrote:
When talking about genetics, what you’re born with is what you die with. Nothing you do during you life (aside from choosing your mate) is going to affect what genes are passed on to your children.

Exactly. What you can do is change your own health and quality of life through the dietary and exercise choices you make.[/quote]

You both better be geneticists, since you are giving such definitive answers.

Everyone has many, many genes, the expression of which is far more complicated than what I’m comfortable discussing (I am not a geneticist). At any rate, from what I’ve heard (and seen), it is fully possible for genetic expression to change. I’ve even seen a case of a person’s eye colour changing in adulthood (brown to blue; no, it’s not contact lenses). I’ve also heard of diet affecting genetic expression, but I can’t recall enough details to elaborate.

Regarding what genes are passed on, I hope you can (at the very least) provide a study that concludes that genetic expression is not correlated with what genes are passed on. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right on this one, but I’d be troubled if you were making such confident statements without having done some serious research first.

Sciencelady,

Nice to know I?m not alone, the stuff you mentioned is exactly what I?ve had to do, I wish I would heard it sooner rather than having to figure it our by myself.

From what the doc told my mom there are different levels of resistance, so I am find without drugs, I have managed to put on muscle and diet off fat, but it?s a pain sometimes.
Everyone else:

Let me clarify that I didn?t want to change my genetics; I knew I was stuck with them; the title of the post came out wrong. I wanted to know if I could change the way my body (geneticaly messed up as it is)responds; if I could make my body produce less insulin by eating fewer carbs for a long period of time and hopefully atrophying the insulin response, even if only temporarily.

I wanted to know if anyone knew the answer because I don?t want to waste the time experimenting.

Thanks
–Waddle

[quote]BRUCELEEWANNABE wrote:
Nice apostrophies! Hahaha. Let me try one! Didn?t FREAKIN’ COOL! I really like it! You started a fad! Congrats.[/quote]

Easily amused?

[quote]Boondoggler wrote:
When talking about genetics, what you’re born with is what you die with. Nothing you do during you life (aside from choosing your mate) is going to affect what genes are passed on to your children.[/quote]

Boondoggler thats not true. Certain chemicals are known to cause hereditable genetic damage. So all you need to do is munch down on some of those (assuming you survive).

Not sure it would be for the better though.

[quote]BRUCELEEWANNABE wrote:
Nice apostrophies! Hahaha. Let me try one! Didn?t FREAKIN’ COOL! I really like it! You started a fad! Congrats.[/quote]

Is this the first post that you noticed it on?

It happens when people type their posts in MS Word and then copy and paste into the forum.

[quote]Aleksandr wrote:
jsbrook wrote:
Boondoggler wrote:
When talking about genetics, what you’re born with is what you die with. Nothing you do during you life (aside from choosing your mate) is going to affect what genes are passed on to your children.

Exactly. What you can do is change your own health and quality of life through the dietary and exercise choices you make.

You both better be geneticists, since you are giving such definitive answers.

Everyone has many, many genes, the expression of which is far more complicated than what I’m comfortable discussing (I am not a geneticist). At any rate, from what I’ve heard (and seen), it is fully possible for genetic expression to change. I’ve even seen a case of a person’s eye colour changing in adulthood (brown to blue; no, it’s not contact lenses). I’ve also heard of diet affecting genetic expression, but I can’t recall enough details to elaborate.

Regarding what genes are passed on, I hope you can (at the very least) provide a study that concludes that genetic expression is not correlated with what genes are passed on. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right on this one, but I’d be troubled if you were making such confident statements without having done some serious research first.[/quote]

Good point to bring up - gene expression is pretty complicated. That’s why you can have identical twins that have radically different personalities or looks. Your environment and experience can influence what genes are expressed, and when. Let’s say you were marooned and didn’t eat for 30 days - you might turn on a gene that otherwise would never have been expressed.

[quote]Aleksandr wrote:
jsbrook wrote:
Boondoggler wrote:
When talking about genetics, what you’re born with is what you die with. Nothing you do during you life (aside from choosing your mate) is going to affect what genes are passed on to your children.

Exactly. What you can do is change your own health and quality of life through the dietary and exercise choices you make.

You both better be geneticists, since you are giving such definitive answers.

Everyone has many, many genes, the expression of which is far more complicated than what I’m comfortable discussing (I am not a geneticist). At any rate, from what I’ve heard (and seen), it is fully possible for genetic expression to change. I’ve even seen a case of a person’s eye colour changing in adulthood (brown to blue; no, it’s not contact lenses). I’ve also heard of diet affecting genetic expression, but I can’t recall enough details to elaborate.

Regarding what genes are passed on, I hope you can (at the very least) provide a study that concludes that genetic expression is not correlated with what genes are passed on. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right on this one, but I’d be troubled if you were making such confident statements without having done some serious research first.[/quote]

Gene expression is a completely different subject. The human body is very capable of adapting or acclimatizing to different environments or situations. I was referring to what was passed on to the next generation. Take any introductory anthropology class. It’ll probably be the first thing you learn. You’d be arguing a theory that was discredited nearly 200 years ago.

on a related note. You can change your genetics through gene therapy. It works best on diving cells, so if you wanted to add a gene to a muscle cell, it probably wouldn’t work as well.

Oh yea it’s also relatively dangerous as the DNA could insert in the wrong place, completely interrupting another integral gene.

[quote]he young rats in one cage didn’t look much different from those in the next. But the difference in their behaviour was obvious. One group appeared calm - some were quietly grooming, others were curled up sleeping. However, in the next cage the young rats appeared nervous and fidgety, constantly on the move; they jumped when a book was dropped on the counter. Genetically, the two litters were closely related, but the quiet group had been raised by a calm, attentive mother, while the nervous group was reared by a mom who paid almost no attention to her pups.

Could these different parenting styles have caused the very different ways the babies were responding to stress? The answer seems obvious - we all assume good parenting helps prepare children for the challenges of life. But what if parenting changed something more fundamental than that? What if something as simple as few extra licks and nuzzles -a few more hugs and kisses - could change not just behaviour, but something in a child’s genetic code? This was the question that had Ian Weaver gazing so intently at the caged rats.

Weaver, in the final stages of his doctoral studies at McGill, was enthralled with an idea that up until a few years ago had been considered unthinkable by the scientific community. That idea, simply put, was that our genes are not as fixed as we believe them to be. Traditionally, most people are taught that nature and nurture operate in separate spheres, that our nature, which is to say, our genes, determines our appearance and some part of our personality and behaviour, while our nurture - interacting with people and the environment - determines the rest. Problem is, this neat and tidy explanation fits less and less with new research discoveries, particularly in medicine: many diseases are supposed to be inherited, but bad genes alone cannot explain, for instance, why one person develops schizophrenia but her identical twin doesn’t, or how a person with no risk factors can still develop certain forms of cancer thought to be mainly hereditary. [/quote]

Full story:
http://www.thepeerreview.ca/view.php?aid=138