How Vitamins and Minerals Affect Your Genes
A daily dose of vitamins and minerals helps bolster health. Especially because three-fourths of the United States population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP).1
Genetic variations impact health, and affect how the body absorbs nutrients. Genes control digestion, absorption, and how the body utilizes nutrients. Variations can alter how the body processes vitamins and minerals; modifying helpful vitamins into harmful ones.
The right dosage of vitamins and minerals can create life-changing impact, eliminate negative health symptoms, restore energy, increase restful sleep, and even alter the expression of your genes.
What are your genes telling you?
Genes are made of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the molecular strands that instruct cells to create a unique identity. Genes make up a portion of DNA that determines traits, whereas an allele – a viable DNA coding that occupies on a chromosome – is a specific form of a gene. We are different due to gene variations that may arise from random mutations and mixtures inherited from our parents.
If a gene is problematic and comes from one parent, you are heterozygous (one copy). If both parents had the gene and passed it along, then you’re homozygous (two copies). Risk is increased when two copies of a gene are present. This however does not mean that you are going to get a specific disease. Through genetic testing and the right health experts to help you interpret the findings along with lifestyle adjustments, you can attempt to silence the bad genes and turn on the good genes.
How do vitamins and minerals help your genes?
Genetic testing identifies what nutrients are compatible with your body based on genetic variations.
As the trend in DNA sequencing becomes more affordable, so will the rise of complete genomes sequence testing of personal genomes. These tests show the genetic susceptibility to cancer and heart disease, but also which vitamins (and dosage) are needed for ideal health.
Vitamins and minerals can alter your genes.2 Vitamins are comprised of organic molecules, functioning in various capacities within the body. They serve as co-factors for enzymatic reactions and are very important to make part of a diet.3 Minerals are considered of dietary significance and necessary to support functional and structural roles. Together, vitamins and minerals work to repair, restore, and convert food into energy.
A lack of key ingredients may cause your body significant harm. For example, old-time sailors often contracted scurvy from being depleted of vitamin C. On the contrary, the right amount of nutrients can provide substantial health benefits.
In fact, a study was conducted on supplementation with antioxidant vitamins preventing the oxidative modification of DNA in lymphocytes of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients. The patients were supplemented with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E or received a placebo. Vitamin supplementation resulted in the significant decrease in the levels of all modified DNA bases when compared to the patients who received placebo.4
How do I increase gene function with vitamins and minerals?
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) make a person’s genes (enzymes) less efficient than normal. This often requires simple supplementation to restore deficits to full working order.
Variations in SNPs in the population of genes affects function, and in some cases the response to vitamins. For years, Donna has been touting the Principle of Uniqueness, which suggests what is good for one, may not be good for another. Because of this, it is important to adapt a customized supplementation regime in order to optimize genetic function.
Controlling the expression of your genes involves understanding what your genes need for optimal health. Genes adapt to environmental factors like stress, diet, and toxins and are often altered from their origin at birth.
What vitamins and minerals help your genes?
Vitamins and mineral deficiencies can lead to DNA damage, and according to Nature, there is evidence that suggests deficiencies of vitamins folate, B12, B6 and C, zinc and iron can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer.5 Nutrient deficiencies are prominent in the United States, as well as other countries.6,7,8 Appropriate supplementation (paired with improved diet) can reduce consequent risk of chronic disease and premature aging.9
According to the Principles of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics deficiency in micronutrients increases DNA replication stress and genomic instability, exacerbates susceptibility to DNA damage caused by endogenous and environmental genotoxins, and, furthermore, disables normal control of gene expression by epigenetic mechanisms. 10
Nucleotide synthesis and DNA replication: folate, vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, and iron.11
Maintenance of DNA methylation and chromosome stability: folate and vitamin B12.12
Prevention of DNA oxidation: vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, manganese, and selenium.13
DNA damage sensing and repair: niacin, zinc, iron, magnesium.14
The CBS gene needs B6.15
The COMT gene needs magnesium.16
Regulate homocysteine levels and reduce MTHFR gene variants C677T and A1298C (reduces efficiency of folate metabolism): folate17
Methylation SNPS needs more B12, folate, B6, and B2.18
PEMT gene variants 5465G to A and 744G to C require choline to reduce the lower levels seen in premenopausal women.19
Regulate the expression of certain oncogenes (cancer causing gene): beta-carotene, retinoic acid, alpha-tocopheryl succinate, and vitamin D.20
Customized supplementation of vitamins and minerals has a variety of health benefits, but the most important is maintaining the best possible genetic health.
1) Health.gov. Chapter 2: Shifts Needed to Align with Healthy Eating Patterns. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2020 from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/current-eating-patterns-in-the-united-states/
2) University of California – Berkeley. (2008, June 3). Good News In Our DNA: Defects You Can Fix With Vitamins And Minerals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602214135.htm
3) The Medical Bio-Chemistry Page.org. Vitamins: Water and Fat Soluble. Retrieved February 10, 2020 from https://themedicalbiochemistrypage.org/vitamins.php
4) Jaruga, P., Jaruga, B., Gackowski, D., Olczak, A., Halota, W., Pawlowska, M., & Olinski, R. (n.d.). Free Radical Biology and Medicine (5th ed., Vol. 32). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891584901008218
(5) Ames, B., Wakimoto, P. Are vitamin and mineral deficiencies a major cancer risk?. Nat Rev Cancer 2, 694–704 (2002). Retrieved February 10, 2020 from https://www.nature.com/articles/nrc886
6) Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Second Nutrition Report: A comprehensive biochemical assessment of the nutrition status of the United States population. Retrieved February 10, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/nutritionreport/pdf/4page_%202nd%20nutrition%20report_508_032912.pdf
7) Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) – “Micronutrient Deficiency”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://ourworldindata.org/micronutrient-deficiency
8) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Micronutrient Facts. Retrieved February 10, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/micronutrients/index.html
9) Arigony, A. L., de Oliveira, I. M., Machado, M., Bordin, D. L., Bergter, L., Prá, D., & Henriques, J. A. (2013). The influence of micronutrients in cell culture: a reflection on viability and genomic stability. BioMed research international, 2013, 597282. Retrieved February 10, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678455/
10) Fenech, M. (n.d.). Principles of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics. Academic Press. Retrieved February 5, 2020 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128045725000045
11) Arigony, A. L., de Oliveira, I. M., Machado, M., Bordin, D. L., Bergter, L., Prá, D., & Henriques, J. A. (2013). The influence of micronutrients in cell culture: a reflection on viability and genomic stability. BioMed research international, 2013, 597282. Retrieved February 11, 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678455/
12) Fenech, Michael. Folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 and their function in the maintenance of nuclear and mitochondrial genome integrity. Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis. Volume 733, Issues 1–2, 1 May 2012, Pages 21-33. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from
13) Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2000. 2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and β-Carotene and Other Carotenoids: Overview, Antioxidant Definition, and Relationship to Chronic Disease. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225471/
14) Ladeira, C., Carolino, E., Gomes, M. C., & Brito, M. (2017). Role of Macronutrients and Micronutrients in DNA Damage: Results From a Food Frequency Questionnaire. Nutrition and metabolic insights, 10, 1178638816684666. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5395264/
15) Gardner, Dr. Aaron. CBS gene. MyGeneFood.com. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://www.mygenefood.com/genes/gastrointestinal-genes/cbs/
16) Swanson, Alex. What is COMT? DNA-Based Nutrition. NutritionGenome.com. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://nutritiongenome.com/what-is-comt/
17) Wan, L., Li, Y., Zhang, Z., Sun, Z., He, Y., & Li, R. (2018). Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and psychiatric diseases. Translational psychiatry, 8(1), 242. Doi:10. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218441/
18) Huang, T., Zheng, Y., Qi, Q., Xu, M., Ley, S. H., Li, Y., … Qi, L. (2015). DNA Methylation Variants at HIF3A Locus, B-Vitamin Intake, and Long-term Weight Change: Gene-Diet Interactions in Two U.S. Cohorts. Diabetes, 64(9), 3146–3154. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542450/
19) Vitamins, Minerals and Your DNA. VitaGene.com. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://vitagene.com/blog/vitamins-minerals-and-your-dna/
20) Prasad KN1, Edwards-Prasad J, Kumar S, Meyers A. Vitamins regulate gene expression and induce differentiation and growth inhibition in cancer cells. Their relevance in cancer prevention. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993 Oct;119(10):1133-40. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8398065