Molecular biology has successfully espoused and propagated a concept that some scholars call “The Central Dogma” which is a genetic deterministic approach that postulates that the transfer of an organism’s biological information is unidirectional, meaning that the information flows only in one direction: DNAà RNAàProteins. The implication of such as theory is that all our biological constitution is driven by our genetic code, and that we are mere helpless recipients of the genes we have been endowed with. But with the advent and growth of the discipline of Epigenetics this view has been further scrutinized and has been found wanting. Epigenetics is the study of the heritable changes that affect gene expression or the phenotype of an organism. These changes are not caused by underlying gene sequence. Rather, they can come through the modification of DNA through a process known as methylation and also through the activity of histones. A lot of diseases that have anomalous or aberrant gene expression as their main cause can be traced to the way the DNA of the organism is packaged. They can also be linked to actions of enzymes such as histone deacetylases.

All of us have tumor suppressor genes that are capable of stopping cancer cells from growing. Every cell in our bodies has these genes. But proteins known as histones are also present in our cells. Sometimes these histones can bind themselves to the DNA so tightly that the DNA becomes “hidden from the view of the cell,” according to Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa of MD Anderson Cancer Center. If a tumor suppressor gene becomes hidden, it cannot have the ability to perform its function. What this means is that the histone hugging the DNA has managed to turn off the gene that is a cancer suppressor, so that the cancer cells can grow freely.

But God in His mercy, has provided certain interventions to mitigate this process. He has provided certain foods that can counter the action of histones. For example, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale and also garlic and onions happen to contain substances that are capable of inhibiting and countering histone activity, thus allowing the cancer suppressor genes to express themselves and perform their functions without hindrance. This is the reason why these foods are among the foods listed by the American Institute for Cancer Research as foods that protect against cancer. The more your diet is composed of these foods, the more your body is equipped to fight off cancerous tumors. This gives you a significant amount of power over the control of the expression of your genes. By adopting a healthy diet you can help release them to do their work effectively. Conversely, a high-fat, low-protein diet can modify epigenetic marks in a manner that can result in negative health outcomes extending to the next generation in both animal and human models. The Bible says “You shall eat no fat, whether from cattle, sheep or goats…” (Leviticus 7:23), and it also says “Whether you eat…do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). These laws are for our own benefit not for God’s benefit.

Check out this video clip on how epigenetics functions: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/intro/

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