Tuesday, 20 September 2011

You Are What You Eat

Just as it appeared that the mantra 'you are what you eat' had been satisfactorily replaced by 'you are what your body does with what you eat', it turns out that it is more complicated than that! 

It isn't that 'you are what your body does with what you eat' is wrong, its just that 'you are what you eat' is right also!

Nature magazine reports that plant RNAs are found in mammals - which may help '...to increase the understanding of how specific ingredients in food can mediate health and disease':
  • MicroRNAs from common plant crops such as rice and cabbage can be found in the blood and tissues of humans and other plant-eating mammals, according to a study published today in Cell Research. One microRNA in particular, MIR168a, which is highly enriched in rice, was found to inhibit a protein that helps removes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the blood, suggesting that microRNAs can influence gene expression across kingdoms.

    “This is a very exciting piece of work that suggests that the food we eat may directly regulate gene expression in our bodies,” said Clay Marsh, Director of the Center for Personalized Health Care at the Ohio State University College of Medicine who researches microRNA expression in human blood but who was not involved in the study.
 One of the microRNAs, MIR168a (found in rice and cruciferous vegetables), shares 'sequence complementarity' with mamalian genes.  MIR168a can make its way to the liver where it binds to LDLRAP1 mRNA which ultimately can impair removal of LDL (no mention of which sub type though!).

Maybe the vegetarians have it wrong and we should follow Vilhjalmur Stefansson's dietary example!

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