Eating Your Greens Can Change the Effect of Your Genes On Heart Disease

A long-held mantra suggests that you can’t change your family, the genes they pass on, or the effect of these genes. Now, an international team of scientists, led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities, is attacking that belief.

The researchers discovered the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease can actually be modified by generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables. The results of their study are published in the current issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.

"We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it," said Dr. Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator of the study, who is a researcher in cardiovascular diseases at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and associate member in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University. "But it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could significantly weaken its effect."

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Researchers have discovered the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease can actually be modified by generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables. (Credit: © Denis Pepin / Fotolia)

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