Mediterranean diet and genetic heritage

Mediterranean diet positively modifies our genetic heritage

The preventive effect of nutrition aims essentially to avoid some diseases in middle-aged subjects, thus allowing them to age as long as possible healthy. Because aging is not age: for a given date of birth, some people enjoy very good health, while others are weakened by a chronic disease. The example of some people with a lot of centenarians shows areas “Blue Zone” in the world where the number of centenarians seems particularly important, including: Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece or Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica

But the precise links between diet and genetics that plays on the synthesis of proteins are not well known and contributes to the gradual decline in the functioning of our cells.

The general benefits of the Mediterranean diet

The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and unrefined seeds, high consumption of olive oil. It has a low consumption of saturated fat, dairy products, meat and poultry with moderately high consumption of fish and wine at meals

All studies have consistently demonstrated the health benefits of a high degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet, including reduction of overall mortality; The incidence of chronic diseases, especially major cardiovascular diseases, is reduced, as is the increased likelihood of healthy aging due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of this diet.

In an article published in 2016, Swedish researchers confirmed the impact of a Mediterranean diet with a gain of 23 months.

How researchers demonstrated genetic change

They looked carefully at certain segments of the chromosomes that are easily visualized by a simple blood test to make a karyotype

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes that suffer a loss of substance or attrition whenever a somatic cell divides. Telomeres prevent the loss of genomic DNA at the ends of linear chromosomes and, in turn, protect their physical integrity.

The attrition of telomeres was accelerated by oxidative stress and inflammation. Telomere length is considered a biological marker of aging; Shorter telomeres are associated with decreased life expectancy and increased rates of chronic disease related to age. The length of telomeres decreases with age and varies considerably from one individual to another. Studies suggest that telomeric attrition is modifiable. Thus, variability in telomere length can be partially explained by lifestyle practices, including diets

121,700 nurses were enrolled in a long study in 1976; The telomeres of 4676 disease-free women who completed food frequency questionnaires showed an association between greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet and longer telomeres.

These remarkable results confirm the advantages of adherence to the Mediterranean diet for the promotion of health and longevity. The explanation could be linked to the maintenance of a “protective” intestinal microbiota, whose primordial role is confirmed in aging.

In France, ANSES (National Agency for Sanitary Safety) distributed, in 2016, nutritional recommendations on the general population. Its findings are largely in line with the principles of the Mediterranean diet, which reflects an adapted diet that is able to overcome the pitfalls of certain cancers, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and intellectual aging.

For further

Marta Crous-Bou et al. Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses’ Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ 2014; 349: g6674 doi: 10.1136 / bmj.g6674

EURONUT-SENECA (1991). Nutrition in the elderly in Europe. Eur J Clin Nutr; 45 suppl 3.

Ferry Monique, “Nutrition, Health and Aging,” Gerontology and Society 3/2010 (No. 134), p. 123-132.

Vaiserman AM et al. Gut microbiota: anti-aging. Ageing research reviews 2017; 35: 36-45. DOI: .

URL: DOI: 10.3917 / gs.134.0123

Bellavia A, Tektonidis TG, Orsini N, Wolk A, Larsson SC. Quantifying the benefits of Mediterranean diet in terms of survival. Eur J Epidemiol. 2016 Feb 5.

Samieri C, Sun Q, Townsend MK, Squirrel SE, Okereke OI, Willett WC, Stampfer M, Grodstein F. The association between dietary patterns and midlife in aging: an observational study. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Nov 5; 159 (9): 584-91.