In a study that demonstrates you are what you eat, scientists
have reported they have changed the fur colors of baby mice
simply by altering their mothers’ diets.
They changed the color of baby mouse fur by feeding pregnant mice
four nutritional supplements — vitamin B12, folic acid, choline
and betaine. Mice given the supplements gave birth to babies with
predominantly brown coats. Pregnant mice not fed the supplements
gave birth mostly to babies with yellow coats.
The study shows that common nutrients can influence which genes
turn on and off in a developing fetus, and help explain some of
the factors that decide which genes are expressed and which
The researchers noted, “We have long known that maternal
nutrition profoundly impacts disease susceptibility in their
offspring, but we never understood the cause-and-effect
link…For the first time ever, we have shown precisely how
nutritional supplementation to the mother can permanently alter
gene expression in her offspring without altering the genes
There is much support for the idea that nutrition can affect gene
expression in people. Several studies have shown, for example,
that women who eat a poor diet while pregnant have children who
grow up with a tendency to diabetes and heart disease.
In this mouse study, the gene affected by the supplements was the
Agouti gene. This gene affects more than fur color. Mice with
overactive Agouti genes tend to be obese and susceptible to
The supplements had the effect of turning the Agouti gene “off”
so that it could not exert its influence on the embryonic mice.
The result was that the baby mice had a different color fur for
the rest of their lives. Turning off the Agouti gene during
pregnancy also causes the mice offspring to be less prone to
obesity and diabetes.
Bottom Line: 1. What you eat will profoundly influence your
future health. 2. What your mother ate with you in her womb has
profoundly influenced your past and present health — and will
influence your future health. 3. If you plan to become a mother,
what you eat at conception and during early pregnancy will
profoundly influence your child’s future health.
We urge you to consult with one of our doctors about the dietary
and environmental changes you need to make in order to get your
genes to support your health and the health of your future
children. Please understand that healthy genetic activity is
under threat by our polluted world and the degraded, adulterated
foods that we eat. Call today!
Source: Waterland RA et al, Transposable Elements: Targets for
Early Nutritional Effects on Epigenetic Gene Regulation,
Molecular and Cellular Biology, August 2003, 23(15):5293-5300