Hi Everyone. I wanted to quickly take my first crack at evolutionary biological view of epigenetics. Sounds complicated but really it’s quite simple. I want to talk about behaviors that we can all practice on a regular basis in order to get our fat-burning genes to express more than our fat-storing ones. Key Mechanism for Lifestyle Effects
1) Fat Storage/Usage
a. Lower carbohydrate intake minimizes fat storage due to decreased insulin.
b. 2 bouts of exercise / week alter DNA methylation (expression) in adipose tissue favoring fat burning and decreased fat storage – adaptation to exercise.
c. Important to not overload yourself with high sugar post workout nutrition.
d. Adequate sleep during dark hours helps to increase melatonin production, which subsequently increases prolactin, growth hormone and along with adequate Vitamin D levels produces adequate sex hormones.
Overall effect is to shift from fat storage to fat burning preferentially through a
ltering gene expression.
2) Seasonal Light/Dark Cycles
a. Longer days in summer/ longer nights (darkness) in winter – we need to stick to this pattern as much as possible.
b. Constant exposure to long daylight hours and decrease quality & duration of sleep àOverweight/Obesity & Type 2 Diabetes – due to body’s adaptations preparing for hibernation that never comes.
c. Red lenses have been shown to help allow the brain to produce melatonin even in artificial light conditions (i.e. after 8/9 pm use red lenses to allow your brain to start producing melatonin).
d. Our skin has photoreceptors all over it so if you are trying to sleep with lights on in your room, your sleep will not be deep enough.
Overall effect is to allow the body to regenerate deeply & to optimize hormonal levels.
3) Seasonal Availability of Foods
a. Summer months have greatest availability of carbohydrate rich foods (i.e. starch veg & fruits) – this would be the time when we could gather the most carb foods, so this is when we start to stock pile these nutrients.
Winter months have almost no availability of carbohydrate rich foods – Ketogenic diet? We would have literally gone for months with no fruits or vegetable matter and most likely hibernated – feeding off body fat stores.
c. If we consume high carb intakes, and even more refined vs. fruits & vegetables, then we end up confusing signals in our body & we continue to stock pile extra nutrients for a famine that never comes. Our bodies literally prepare for hibernation, which manifests as obesity + type 2 diabetes.
Overall effect is that we keep our intake pattern optimized to our performance level and never trigger the body into expecting hibernation and we might even make the body believe that we have hibernated at times.
4) Muscle mass preservation/building:
a. We evolved to move – therefore use it or lose it!
Consuming adequate protein (1 g/ lb of ideal body weight) will help us maintain our muscle tissue over the long haul.
c. As part of activity at least twice/week LIFT HEAVY THINGS – engage your muscles by lifting weight (body weight, weights, resistance bands, etc…).
d. Additionally, once every 7-10 days move as fast as you can using short burst high intensity work (i.e. sprints) – this will help to retain & build muscle mass.
e. REPLENISH muscle glycogen by planning a good sized carbohydrate reefed post workout (within about 4 hours of your workout). These carbohydrates should be mostly safe starches like Yams, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Squash, Yucca Root, etc…
Overall effect is that we maintain and even build muscle mass, which can reprogram our gene expression to be more effective at fat burning & less effective at fat storage, resulting in a leaner you for life!
1) Avoid sugar & refined carbohydrates especially if you are trying to lose fat.
2) Get adequate sleep in a pitch black room; alter the length according to the seasonal day lengths as much as possible.
3) Consume your carbohydrates from unrefined sources primarily and consume more during the summer months and much less in the winter months. Your largest intake of complex carbohydrates should be taken in post workout to optimize performance.
4) Consume at least 1 g protein/ lbs of ideal body weight.
5) Be active daily – low intensity stuff mostly, with two workouts/week of resistance training (weights, body weight, etc…) and one workout/ 7-10 days of moving as fast as you can (i.e. sprinting).