DNA is our cellular blueprint. It is part of our genetic makeup that controls how our cells reproduce. I have just come across some fascinating research that references specific nutrients for actually protecting and preserving our DNA so that our genetic tendencies towards developing degenerative diseases are warded off.
Much research has gone into proving that so called genetic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more are actually the result of damage to the cellular DNA that causes a defective reproduction of cells in the body, which over time leads to degenerative disease. The research has shown that some DNA damage can be repaired so that the gene responsible for expressing the disease is actually turned off.
This is really good news. I wish I had learned it earlier in life. Some of the best DNA repair nutrients are B vitamins and zinc – both of which are eaten up by stress and most people are deficient in. B vitamin deficiency causes damage to the body that is almost identical to that caused by radiation. Low levels of B vitamin lead to genetic instability and breaks in the DNA strand that wreak havoc with cellular programming. Vitamins are utilized in a process called methylation that helps suppress cancer genes. Research scientists have used supplemental B vitamins to alter DNA methylation patterns to change what was believed to be fixed genetic traits.
Certain antioxidants are important in protecting DNA because they increase energy in the cells and help protect them from free-radical damage - both of which translate to less risk of disease. The first of these super antioxidants is coenzyme Q10. Its primary function is to provide energy to the cells while acting as an antioxidant. It is well known for helping with cardiac arrhytythmia, lowering blood pressure and preventing artherosclerosis. For the immune system, coenzyme Q10 provides a boost to the immune system and helps suppress proliferations of cancer cells. Co Q10 is beneficial in many neurological disorders providing protection to the brain and nerves. Co Q10 is depleted by statin drugs.
The next super antioxidant is alpha lipoic acid which is a master antioxidant in that it enables recycling of other antioxidants such as C, E and coenzyme Q10. Alpha lipoic acid is one of the major anti-aging nutrients and is known for suppressing the activity of inflammation promoting genes that can lead to degenerative diseases. Alpha lipoic acid improves the efficiency of insulin and is used supplementally to lower blood sugar. This antioxidant is very helpful to those with diabetes or insulin resistance.
Vitamin E inhibits inflammation promoting genes. The best form is the natural form with the full spectrum of the E family known as mixed tocopherols. Research has shown E to reduce the accumulation of the beta-amyloid protein in the brain that is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Note that in using supplements for health, it is very important to use very high quality natural supplements. The synthetic supplements do work in the short run at a lower efficiency, but in the long run, they actually cause damage to the cellular DNA which defeats the purpose of taking them over time.
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.