Too much methylation is a problem as it can cause various disease states and speed up the aging process. However, there are ways we can disturb methylation expression and optimize our health.
In this article:
- Methylation Expression and Aging
- 6 Ways to Disturb Methylation Expression
Methylation Expression and Aging
It has been observed that individuals with the same chronological age can differ from their biological age. Researchers are learning more about what controls our biological clocks, but currently, DNA methylation is the most promising marker for monitoring aging .
More and more research shows that excessive methylation, known as hypermethylation, within the epigenome (your biological record of the chemical changes to your DNA and the histone protein modifications), is associated with numerous disease states.
6 Ways to Disturb Methylation Expression
There are various ways that individuals can support methylation imbalances through dietary and lifestyle practices. The main modifiers include:
There are many dietary habits we can adopt that supports a healthy expression of your DNA methylation.
1. Get Essential Nutrients
Vitamin B12 and folate help to prevent methylation deficiencies. However, some professionals believe that using high doses of supplements is not the best way to support DNA methylation. A good way to get these nutrients is in your diet, from fortified breakfast cereals or from the foods listed below.
2. Eat Foods Rich in Methylation Adaptogens
Foods rich in methylation adaptogens include:
Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens are cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, turnip, radish, kale, bok choy, etc. are rich in sulforaphane. Evidence suggests that sulforaphane targets the epigenetic alterations observed in specific cancers. This is done by reversing abnormal changes in gene coding.
Berries – for example, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are high in methylation adaptogens like chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, and ellagic acid.
Tea – for example, green tea and oolong tea. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea was found to disturb methylation expression.
Herbs – rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. The curcumin in turmeric is known for its many health benefits. Rosemary’s methylation adaptogen is rosmarinic acid (also found in sweet basil and sage), helping in cellular regeneration.
Include at least two servings of any combination of the above foods will help disturb methylation expression, optimize health outcomes, and contribute to healthy aging. Smoothies and juices are a great way to include all the nutrients you need for methylation support.
3. Reduce Calorie Intake
Apart from reducing the risk of disease, reducing one’s calorie intake may also help you age better.
Research shows that caloric restriction can slow down DNA methylation and even increase the lifespan of certain animals. However, it’s important not to compromise the number of essential nutrients needed.
4. Limit Alcohol Consumption
As well as increasing the risk of several diseases, alcohol can reduce an individual’s healthspan and lifespan. Some studies show that biological age is reduced in people with alcohol use disorder. Telomere length, an epigenetic marker for aging, was shorter in subjects who drank alcohol excessively.
Another way to disturb methylation expression by protecting the chromosome structure is by limiting or denying alcohol altogether. The CDC defines moderate drinking as one drink each day for women and two drinks each day for men.
Exercise can disturb methylation expression, turning off or turning on specific genes.
5. Get Regular Exercise
Studies involving homocysteine (Hcy), a metabolic biomarker for methylation status, showed that elevated Hcy suggests methylation deficits. Regular exercise is consistently associated with lower Hcy levels and offers a multitude of anti-aging effects.
All types of exercise levels alter epigenetic methylation, which influences how genes are expressed.
Aging is associated with the reduction of DNA methylation, yet regular activity, especially over our lifetime, can combat this.
Stress is known to switch on many neuronal circuits. In previous studies, gene encoding proteins related to these neuronal circuits have been found to show irregularity in DNA methylation.
6. Manage Stress Levels
Chronic stress is linked to lasting epigenetic changes. These epigenetic changes then trigger inflammation and disease, which contribute to aging. So it’s crucial to find ways to manage stressors to promote better aging.
Please share your thoughts about methylation expression with us in the comments section below.
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