Obesity & Epigenetics: Put on Your Skinny Genes!

Obesity & Epigenetics: Put on Your Skinny Genes!

by Tamara Shenouda, project manager at SL Technology, Inc., a Reliv company

Epigenetic Factors You Can’t Control

Before we’re born, our parents’ choices, their health conditions and the environmental toxins they are exposed to can affect how our genes are expressed, especially during the vulnerable early development period. This includes genes related to adipogenesis, or the process of creating fat cells. The mechanism for adipogenesis is first set during the fetal and neonatal stages of life. Changes in the expression of these genes can affect the size of fat cells and how they are distributed in the body.

We all know a mother’s diet and environment are central to a child’s development, but what a father passes on is also important. A study in 2013 found that children born to obese fathers had altered markings at the Insulin-type Growth Factor 2 (IGF2) gene, which is important during fetal development and could affect the child’s health.

Another factor that seems to be working against us in the struggle with obesity is the widespread presence of obesogens in our environment. Obesogens are chemicals that can affect genes related to obesity and alter metabolic processes, predisposing people to gain weight. Some examples of suspected obesogens are lead, organotins, BPA and phthalates.

How to Take Control

The good news is we can also use epigenetics to our benefit. Another 2013 study looked at how exercise changed DNA methylation in 23 men who had previously engaged in a low level of physical activity and 31 individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes. After the six-month exercise intervention, changes were observed in DNA methylation at specific gene sites in adipose tissues of both groups. These changes affected adipocyte metabolism.

As for your diet, there’s a long list of compounds that may affect DNA methylation. Examples of foods that give us the building blocks for methylation include leafy greens, peas and beans for folic acid; eggs, lettuce and peanuts for choline; spinach, garlic and tofu for methionine. Other important building blocks for methylation include zinc and B12.

The soy peptide lunasin, available in its most bioactive form in Reliv’s LunaRich products, may also help promote weight loss.  In a University of Missouri study the combination of Reliv Now® and LunaRich X™ showed the potential to support weight loss, heart health and metabolic wellness. Learn more.

A Note from Dr. Carl: Starting Your Year off Right with Reliv

This time of year many of us renew our determination to improve or maintain our health. We often want to get rid of a few pesky pounds, and that’s great. But it’s important that we seek to lose weight in a healthy way, through optimal nutrition and exercise, rather than a crash diet that may do more harm than good.

Taking a quality multivitamin like Reliv Now can help make sure you’re covering your micronutrient bases and giving your epigenome the extra support it needs to promote a healthy body. Plus, as noted above, Reliv Now in combination with LunaRich X has also been shown to improve factors related to obesity and metabolic syndrome such as free fatty acids, cholesterol and the hormones leptin and adiponectin.

Make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to reach your health goals. Here’s to a new you this New Year!

To your health,

Dr. Carl W. Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer


This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. Reliv products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



  • Ronn T, Volkov P, Davega°rdh C, Dayeh T, Hall E, et al. (2013) A Six Months Exercise Intervention Influences the Genome-wide DNA Methylation Pattern in Human Adipose Tissue. PLoS Genet 9(6): e1003572. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003572
  • Soubry et al. (2013) Paternal obesity is associated with IGF2 hypomethylation in newborns: results from aNewborn Epigenetics Study (NEST) cohort. BMC Medicine 2013, 11:29 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/29
  • Obesogens: An Environmental Link to Obesity. Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 120, no. 2, Feb 2012.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3279464/pdf/ehp.120-a62.pdf
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