Being Overweight Adds Distinct Epigenetic Marks to DNA

December 27, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Extra weight that you may have put on during the holidays could not only appear around your belly, but also add epigenetic tags to your DNA, suggests a new study. Having a high body mass index (BMI) was linked to additional methyl tags found at more than 200 areas on the genome, which affects gene expression and could predict susceptibility to some diseases like diabetes. “This issue is particularly relevant because an estimated one and a half billion people throughout [more…]

Epigenetics Could Turn on an ‘Obesity Switch’

September 6, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We know that a predisposition to become overweight is found in our genes. Now, we’re starting to learn that epigenetics also has a hand in determining whether a person will become fat or lean. New research is uncovering the possibility of an epigenetic switch that is, interestingly, either “on” or “off”. A group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg published their study in Cell. More than one-third of individuals are considered to be [more…]

Overweight Fathers May Epigenetically Increase Their Daughters’ Risk of Breast Cancer

July 5, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Although we typically think the mother has a large impact on her child’s health, epigenetic research is beginning to suggest that a father’s behavior may also have a significant amount of influence. Recently, we posted a blog article on the epigenetic influence a father’s lifestyle has on his children, showing that both mothers and fathers contribute to their offspring’s health through epigenetic alterations. Other research has indicated that a father’s diet could impact his sperm epigenome and influence pregnancy outcomes. [more…]

Could Common Chemicals Tip the Epigenetic Balance and Program Someone for Obesity?

May 24, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We’ve all heard of the risks of the BPA, or Bisphenol A, a chemical used to make durable plastics. BPA can be found in baby bottles, toys, water bottles, and the lining of food cans, but it has also leached into the water and air, travelling around the world. Research has shown this endocrine disruptor can cause adverse health effects during development and impact the reproductive system by mimicking estrogen, binding to nuclear estrogen receptors and even androgen receptors. It [more…]

Epigenetics: Feeding the Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic?

March 21, 2016 Bill Sullivan

Every kid reaching for the junk food has heard mom and dad’s warning, “You are what you eat!” But parents should be advised that children can now offer a humbling retort, “No, I’m what YOU ate!” A new study by scientists from the Institute of Experimental Genetics at Helmholtz Zentrum München (Neuherberg, Germany) suggests that the metabolic consequences of mom and dad’s dietary habits can be inherited by their kids via epigenetic mechanisms. So in addition to inheriting a genetic [more…]

Mitochondrial DNA Methylation Gives Clues to Insulin Response in Pre-Diabetics

September 1, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

What if those who are resistant to insulin but don’t have diabetes could help prevent themselves and others from developing the disease? Researchers from Virginia Tech have discovered a biomarker in those who are pre-diabetic that could prevent them and potentially others from getting type 2 diabetes. The researchers uncovered that pre-diabetics, or people who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, who do not respond to insulin had altered DNA in their mitochondria and had an increased [more…]

Eat Well, Exercise Regularly and Monitor Your Epigenome

April 11, 2014 Milka Rodriguez

Cardiometabolic disease (CMD) is a term used to define risk factors associated with the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  One major characteristic which contributes to these risk factors is obesity. Worldwide, obesity has nearly doubled since 1980 and in 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults 20 and older were overweight (1).  Additionally more than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2011 (1). Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death [more…]