DNA directly linked to nutrition


"She also shows the progress made in mapping the human genome, whose 30,000-40,000 genes aer almost all active in THE BRAIN.

[Brain Facts: "While your brain is only around three percent of your body mass, it can consume more than twenty percent of your body’s oxygen intake. Its consumption increases during mental activities such as learning...your brain uses approximately 20% of the total oxygen pumping around your body ...and about 750ml of blood pumps through your brain every minute!...The blood supply to the brain is crucial for survival and unconsciousness may result from an interruption to the blood flow. The healthy function of the brain depends on a variety of factors, the most important being the blood supply to the brain and the nutrient and oxygen content of that blood...The brain uses 30% of the bloodstream in order to get oxygen and nutrients that will allow it to function...The human brain is more than 60% fat! The majority of fat in the brain is the type that cannot be made by the body, but must be supplied by the diet. The fats essential for optimal brain activity are the omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and, to a lesser extent, alpha linolenic acid (ALA). The omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial properties that have been studied in the treatment of a number of mental conditions ranging from depression and bipolar disorder to schizophrenia, Alzheimers, chronic fatigue syndrome and stress.

Building a Healthy Brain

Today's society is relatively deficient in these powerful brain building omega-3 fatty acids. Gone are the days of eating simple diets full of fish, seeds and nuts; our diets are now full of processed foods that are lacking in the good, essential fats. To ensure you are receiving sufficient quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty, cold water fish, such as salmon, mackeral, tuna, sardines and anchovies should fill your plate, as well as other valuable omega-3 sources derived from oil-bearing nuts and seeds, such as flaxseed and flax oil.

The brain requires more omega-3 fatty acids than any other system in the body. With sufficient quantities of EPA and DHA in the diet, the membranes of the brain perform at their peak level, which is essential for regulating mood, emotions, and staving off depression. In the absence of EPA and DHA the brain will choose an alternate source of lipids such as an omega 6 or monounsaturated fat which has very different properties from omega-3s and could therefore negatively affect your mental health."]


Large, complex, biologically-important molecules composed of amino acids joined by peptide bonds. The number of amino acids used can be many hundreds. There are 20 different amino acids and they can be joined in any order. Proteins are essential to all living organisms. As enzymes they regulate all aspects of metabolism. Structural proteins such as keratin and collagen make up skin, claws, bones, tendons, and ligaments; muscle proteins produce movement; haemoglobin transports oxygen; and membrane proteins regulate the movement of substances into and out of cells. For humans, protein is an essential part of the diet, and is found in greatest quantity in soy beans and other grain legumes, meat, eggs, and cheese. During digestion protein molecules are broken down into amino acids which are then easily absorbed into the body.

Protein synthesis occurs in cells. The information describing the order in which the different amino acids are joined is found in DNA in the form of a code. The part of the DNA that carries the code for making one protein is called a gene. Each protein described in the code has an effect on the appearance and characteristics of the organism.

During digestion in the body, proteases (any enzymes that break down a protein) are produced by the stomach, the pancreas, and the small intestine. These enzymes catalyse the breakdown of protein into amino acids. Pepsin is an enzyme which is produced by the walls of the stomach. It digests large protein molecules into smaller protein molecules (smaller polypeptides). The conditions in the stomach are very acid and pepsin works at its fastest rate in such conditions.

The amino acids produced by the digestion of proteins are absorbed into the blood in the small intestine. They are transported around the body by the blood for use by cells to make the proteins they need. This protein synthesis needs energy and this energy is provided by respiration.

Plants and proteinPlants also make proteins. Unlike animals, plants make proteins from minerals, such as nitrates, that they absorb from the soil, and carbohydrate produced in photosynthesis. So it is plants that make the protein that animals need to have in their diet. There is a shortage of minerals like nitrates (containing the element nitrogen) on Earth. The movement of nitrogen between organisms is therefore important and is referred to as the nitrogen cycle.

Uses of proteins as fibresProteins are used by organisms in a variety of ways. Some large proteins are insoluble and form fibres. These fibres are strong and are used to form structures in organisms. An example is the protein fibre that forms tendons - these join muscles to bone and are important in joints. Protein fibres can usually bend. Bones are mainly composed of brittle minerals (calcium phosphate) but the presence of protein stops bone from being too brittle.

EnzymesEnzymes are soluble proteins that are involved in and facilitate many processes in organisms, such as respiration, photosynthesis, and digestion.

HaemoglobinProteins can act to transport materials. For example, haemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen in the blood.

Proteins and diseaseAntibodies are modified proteins that can provide immunity (see immunization) to disease. Proteins coat genes to form virus particles that can infect cells.

Protein structureTypes of bond other then peptide bonds, such as sulphur-sulphur bonds, hydrogen bonds, and cation bridges between acid sites, are responsible for creating the protein's characteristic three-dimensional structure, which may be fibrous, globular, or pleated. Protein provides 4 kcal of energy per gram.


Feed Your Genes Right: Eat to Turn Off Disease-Causing Genes and Slow Down Aging

In Feed Your Genes Right, renowned nutrition expert Jack Challem translates the hugely exciting science of nutrigenomics--which explores the link between nutrition and our own DNA--into practical eating plans and nutritional supplement recommendations for maximizing one's genetic inheritance, slowing the aging process, and reducing the chances of disease. After describing how food and nutrients can help repair flawed or damaged genes, Challem offers specific plans--complete with delicious carb-smart recipes--that target two dozen common or inherited diseases and conditions, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, fatigue, gluten intolerance, heart disease, and obesity.

Offering an unusual mix of hard science, commonsense nutritional advice and even a handful of recipes, this book counsels readers to take control of their bodies (and, more specifically, their genes) by being knowledgeable about what to feed them. "Nutrients provide the building blocks of genes, and they turn many genes on and off," Challem notes. Therefore, what you eat determines not only your energy level and your belt size, but also your risk of DNA damage and disease. Challem, coauthor of Syndrome X, packs his volume with information on specific genetic conditions and advice on how to avoid or ameliorate them, as well as general tips for healthy living. The text is well organized but full of arduous terminology, particularly the latter half, which details specific diseases and their genotypes. At one point, for example, Challem notes that "people with an inefficient APOE E4 variation of the apoliprotein gene, which is relatively common in some parts of Scandinavia, tend to have higher blood-cholesterol levels and are more likely to suffer a heart attack." Though Challem stuffs his book with facts and makes frequent references to clinical studies, readers may be skeptical of some of his claims. (He asserts, for example, that many of the biochemical problems associated with Down Syndrome "can be circumvented through high-dose vitamin and mineral supplements and thyroid medications, leading to improved intelligence and appearance.") Not all readers will embrace Challem's prescriptions, or his sometimes technical writing, but those interested in the science of healthy living, particularly the nuts and bolts of the body's inner-workings, will find this a fascinating read.

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