In September 2015, Monica was diagnosed with breast cancer cancer, which was already in middle school. Monica was an identical twin, and her 38-year-old sister, Erica, had also had regular mammograms and ultrasounds without cancer detected. In Monica’s left breast, the tumor had grown to the size of a tennis ball, and the cancer cells had spread to the lymph nodes.
These twins share the same genes, so why did one get cancer and not the other?
We have always believed that genes, our DNA, determine everything about us. In fact, there is another crucial factor: the “switching” of genes. In other words, the gene determines that twins have the same necklace, but the gene’s “key” determines whether or not they wear it, when they wear it, and for how long.
The key to determining whether this gene is “on” or “off” is the epigenetic factor.
Each person’s DNA was fixed. DNA is determined at the moment the father’s sperm fuse with the mother’s egg. There are about 200 types of cells in the body, but they have the same DNA.
However, DNA itself creates different types of cells through the direction of epigenetic factors, and the differences between these cells are enormous.
Similarly, epigenetic factors can also promote the formation or absence of tumor cells.
There are about 50 trillion cells in the human body, and each cell contains about 6 feet of DNA. The reason that such long genes can be contained in the cell nucleus is due to the way DNA is wrapped.
The spools around which DNA is wrapped are called histones. A piece of DNA should wrap around 30 million of these reels. In the diagram, each of the circular spools represents histones, and the strands that wrap around them are DNA.
Epigenetic factors can bind to the ‘tails’ of histones, or to DNA. They are bound to histones or DNA-like tags.
Epigenetic factors (methyl groups) that bind to DNA can directly “turn off” genes.
Epigenetic factors also control the state of DNA crosslinking on histones. It can make genes tightly wrap around histones in a compressed state. At this point, gene expression is suppressed, and the body cannot read these genes. The genes are in the “off” state.
They can also untangle the strands of DNA wrapped around histones. The reduced DNA is no longer repressed, so the body can read this DNA information. This means that the genes are in an “on” state.
Changes in epigenetic factors may ultimately determine whether or not a person has a particular disease. For example, after the epigenetic factor is stopped, the gene for a protein that suppresses cancer cannot be expressed, so this protein is no longer produced, and then a tumor forms. However, if the gene is left out, it may prevent the tumor from developing.
Turn on good genes and turn off bad ones to avoid cancer and genetic diseases
We cannot change our genes. So how can we turn the good genes on and off the bad ones to prevent the development of cancer?
Diet, alcohol, tobacco, drug intake, psychological stress and the living environment influence epigenetic factors. They affect genes in two main ways – DNA methylation and histone modification.
More and more studies are finding that diet is key to controlling gene expression.
A methyl group is a genetic factor that can enter cells through the diet, and when it is tagged on DNA, it is called DNA methylation.
Methyl groups can turn it off genes. In normal cells, methyl groups turn off the oncogenes and remain silent; Cancer suppressor genes are not methylated, so they are turned on. The opposite is true in cancer cells.
Another approach, histone modification, has a similar rationale.
In short, when cancer-fighting foods are consumed, their ultimate goal is the same, no matter how they affect genes: to turn off oncogenes and turn on cancer-suppressor genes.
Nutrients and foods that alter gene expression to fight cancer
Polyphenols are found in fruits and vegetables, and they are Protect the body against diseases. Dietary polyphenols alter the epigenetic factors of cancer cells, including through the activation of silent genes, thus fighting cancer.
Catechins are tea polyphenols, which are the most abundant biologically active The compounds in green tea, which account for more than 50 percent of the active compounds in it, and their anti-cancer effects have been extensively studied.
Antioxidants can inhibit the methylation of cancer-suppressor genes. Once these genes are highly methylated, they become inactive and cannot function as cancer suppressors. Eating catechins protects the activity of beneficial genes and causes cells to produce anti-cancer proteins to fight and treat cancer.
a study by researchers at the University of New Jersey published in Cancer Research. demonstrated that the catechins in green tea can inhibit DNA methylation and reactivate cancer-suppressive genes silenced by high methylation, in colon, skin, esophageal and prostate cancer cells.
else study Published in the journal Carcinogenesis showed that antioxidants have the same transformative effect on DNA methylation in melanoma cells.
In addition, a A large number Studies have shown that taking catechins has a significant inhibitory effect on cancer cells in the oral cavity, breast, stomach, ovary, and pancreas.
Resveratrol is a plant polyphenol found naturally in the skins of grapes. Fruits such as berries, cranberries, and peanuts also contain resveratrol.
Resveratrol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and has a signaling effect Tracks that control cell division, growth, apoptosis, and cancer cell metastases. The antiproliferative property of resveratrol has been demonstrated in liver, skin, breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer cells.
Researchers at the University of Arizona found that resveratrol Prevents gene silencing of the cancer-suppressive proteins in breast cancer cells.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have proven that resveratrol can cause prevent expression of anti-apoptotic proteins in breast cancer cells, leading to apoptosis, or cell death of cancer cells. Therefore, these researchers concluded that resveratrol is an excellent option for targeted therapy for breast cancer.
Many people are familiar with the soy isoflavones in soybeans and soy products, which are a type of isoflavones. Isoflavones are also found in foods such as beans and the root of the kudzu vine.
Soy isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen. Its anticancer and anticancer properties are reflected in its effect on histone modification and DNA methylation, thereby regulating gene transcription capacity.
studies You have shown That soy isoflavones can Reactivate Expression Cancer suppressor genes in prostate cancer cells. It has also been found that soy isoflavones and other isoflavones can regulate the expression of non-coding RNA in several types of cancer cells.
Researchers at the University of Missouri conducted a human trial against cancer using soy isoflavones. 34 healthy premenopausal women were given 40 mg or 140 mg of isoflavones daily during one menstrual cycle, and then the researchers evaluated the genetic changes in these individuals. The results showed that taking isoflavones caused hypermethylation of two genes linked to breast cancer These breast cancer genes are silenced.
Isothiocyanate is a nutritional compound found in cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and collard greens). It inhibits the growth of cancer cells and shows the ability to promote apoptosis of cancer cells.
In a human study conducted at Oregon State University, consuming 68 grams of broccoli sprouts Inhibits histone deacetylase activity In peripheral blood mononuclear cells, thus achieving cancer prevention. In addition, researchers at another university in the United States showed through cell culture experiments that isothiocyanates can Inhibits methyltransferases in breast cancer cells It inhibits the hTERT gene, which is overexpressed in about 90 percent of cancers.
In addition, there are many nutrients that can control and treat cancer. A review in the journal Epigenomics concluded that the following nutrients and foods can alter epigenetic factors in two ways.
Foods that fight cancer by regulating DNA methylation: Selenium (Brazil nuts), isothiocyanates (broccoli), catechins (green tea), resveratrol (grapes), and isoflavones (soy).
Foods that fight cancer by modulating histone modification: Isoflavones (soybeans), curcumin (curry), catechins (green tea), resveratrol (grapes), isothiocyanates (broccoli), selenium (Brazil nuts), and allyl mercaptan (garlic).
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