You Are What You're Grandmother Ate

You may read an interesting report about the diet of a mother having an influence on a specific gene for at least two generations, but there's no need to be alarmed by it. The research involves "epigenetic" changes made to DNA, involving genes that can be silenced or activated based on exposure to chemicals.

Half of the mice in the study were fed a nutrient-enriched diet responsible for silencing genes while the control group ate a standard diet. Exposure to those high amounts of nutrients in the womb changed the coats of the mice offspring from golden to dark brown fur, while the offspring of the control group remained unchanged.

So, should you be completely worried about the diets of people you couldn't control even if you wanted to -- your grandparents -- affecting your own? Only in terms of passing down poor eating habits, which you can do something about today by learning how to eat properly according to your body's unique nutritional type.

As far as genes, I firmly believe they've been positioned by the experts to exert a far more exaggerated influence on your health than they really do. Fact is, genes are little more than information storage facilities that don't do much to influence your health. Rather, it's the expression of your genes, influenced by how you live your life, that weighs far heavier on your health than anything else.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103, No. 46, November 14, 2006: 17308-17312