Eat to Evolve - Blog Post
December 22, 2021
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How the Ketogenic Diet Affects Epigenetics

You know what genetics are, but what about epigenetics? This field of study examines gene expression: why your body evolves, changes and reacts the way it does. There are countless ways to make epigenetics work in your favor, and the Keto diet is one of them. Let’s break down what epigenetics is and how it works.

What is Epigenetics? 

Epigenetics is a field of study that analyzes how environmental factors influence gene expression. The many factors in your environment can affect how well the body reads DNA in a gene—and, as a result, how that gene functions. Simply put: external factors can improve or damage a cell’s ability to fulfill its job.

Nothing in the environment can alter DNA. Epigenetics simply influences how efficient cells are at following the DNA’s instructions. Anything can contribute to epigenetics, which means gene function will change over the course of your life. The ability to control gene expression—biohacking epigenetics—could have the potential to treat certain diseases or boost systems within the body. That’s a powerful prospect!

What Influences Gene Expression? 

Gene expression is how cells use the instructions within DNA to make proteins. Many factors in your external environment can make cells more or less effective at producing these proteins. Whether you’re aware of it or not, environmental factors affect gene expression on a daily basis. 

For example, a diet filled with pizza and soda can lead to sugar crashes and frequent upset stomachs. On the other hand, a healthy diet and regular exercise can improve your mood and energy levels. Habits and the world around you play a role in your health. 

Here are some examples of common environmental factors proven to alter gene expression:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Air quality
  • Sleep patterns
  • Hormone levels

Can the Ketogenetic Diet Affect Epigenetics?

The Keto diet heavily influences which nutrients enter the body. That means a low-carb, high-fat diet can potentially alter your gene expression. Opposite poor sleep and air pollution, the Keto diet is a force for positive gene expression that can change how your cells work for the better. 

For example, research conducted on mice has shown that Keto can boost neuron growth for improved learning and memory skills. The study focused on chromatin: DNA strands coiled around a histone protein. Opening up the DNA strand is linked to healthy learning and memory retention. The mice in the experiment were fed a high-fat diet, which increased beta-hydroxybutyrate (a type of ketone). This improved the mutated gene’s ability to open DNA, which boosted cognitive functioning.

This is just one example of Keto’s influence on gene expression. As science probes epigenetics further, it’s likely even more staggering results will come to light!

You Really Are What You Eat! 

Epigenetics means the inner workings of our bodies are constantly changing. Since diet is a part of epigenetics—one we can control—we can harness the power of diet to become whoever we want to be. Keto in particular can improve gene expression, allowing you to enjoy weight loss, better sleep and increased focus. All of these health benefits help you take on the world and become the best version of yourself. 

Reserve your spot for our next Keto Challenge!

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