Epigenetics has been gathering wide interest all over the world in the last ten years. This field of science concerns itself on the effects of human lifestyle on our genome sequence.
A recent study, headed by Charlotte Ling, suggests that variations in epigenetic mechanisms as a consequence of certain human lifestyle may lead to certain diseases, in particular, type 2 diabetes and obesity. In the same manner, such diseases affect the behavior of epigenomes (chemical compounds that dictates human genes what to do). In summary, the research stated that factors such as our age, the way we eat, and the physical activities we do could create changes in the pattern of our epigenetic mechanism.
Our Diet Plays a Role
The research was able to show that how we eat and the food choice we prefer all affect the epigenomes present on certain tissues associated with our metabolism. For instance, a diet that contains high levels of fat can lead to changes in the DNA methylation process of skeletal muscles and adipose tissues.
Physical Activities Leads to Changes Too
Exercise, of course, is known to have beneficial effects on the human body. In relation to Epigenetics, having a regular exercise helps in preventing type 2 diabetes development. And epigenetics can explain why different people achieve different effects when doing physical activities. When we exercise, there are changes occurring in our epigenome mechanisms which impact the breakdown of fatty acids. Effects could vary from person to person.
As we age, the normal epigenome patterns of the body vary significantly too. In the process, our genome either gain or lose new methylations. Because aging is associated with increased obesity and a higher risk to type 2 diabetes, understanding epigenetic mechanisms in relation to aging could help develop new treatments for preventing such diseases.
Epigenetics Can Lead to Innovations in Treating Diabetes
Epigenetics has promising ramifications when it comes to developing new ways to treat type 2 diabetes. For one, Epigenetics can be used to detect if a person has a high possibility of developing diabetes and obesity. Further, new treatment methods could be developed wherein drugs can specifically modify epigenetic mechanisms associated. At present, scientists have already developed drugs that affect DNA methylation as well as histone modification for treating leukemia. Breakthroughs in treatments for type 2 diabetes could very well happen in the next decade or so.