Food for Thought: Important New Scientific Findings That May Alter Addiction

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A nutritious diet of grains and vegetables speeds addiction recovery. Important New Scientific Findings:

Vegetable MicroRNA Actually Changes Our Genes! Can This Possibly Mean that it Can Help Ward off Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Professor Chenyu Zhang, Nanjing University’s Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, set out with his team to find out whether it is our cells or it is plants that make up some of the microRNA in our bodies.

What he discovered was revolutionary, and points to the possibility that scientists may be able to make us even healthier—thanks to the micro-genetics of some plants to alter human gene expression.

Comprised of limited number (19 to 24) nucleotides, microRNA is genetic material, which as a kind of orchestral director controls the body’s genes’ “expression”—muffling or amplifying the activity of a gene.

First, Zhang and colleagues performed an experiment with 31 healthy men and women as well as a select number of cows, using a sodium periodate process of oxidizing/modifying microRNA strands, making them un-sequenced (so their target microRNA was left untouched and isolated enough to study) and finding 30 known plant RNAs in the bloodstream of their subjects.

Second, they found in the bloodstreams at least 2 plant RNAs—those of rice and those of cabbage family plants (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) which were of particularly high concentrations, or amounts, in the bloodstreams of the men, women, and cows.

This means these plant genes were “surviving” the digestive process, going past digestion and into the bloodstream.  Professor Zhang and colleagues cannot yet say for sure how the plant genes are making it through and escaping the digestive acids and enzymes, for instance.  But they are intent on pursuing the ways these plant microRNAs can further benefit us because of this phenomenon!

For example, Professor Zhang’s group found plant microRNAs which turn up or turn down the expression of about 50 different genes, including a liver protein gene (IDLRAP1) responsible for flushing out “bad” cholesterol.  So Zhang and team intend to seek ways the microRNAs of a certain Chinese herb (name of which is undisclosed for now) can survive digestion, make their way into the bloodstream, mute and amplify their way through these 50 odd genes, and muffle, mute, destroy the human influenza virus.

The scientists of the world have been working in the fields of genetic mutation for decades: they have gotten far with plants such as herbicide-resistant soya beans and insect larva toxin-resistant corn.  They have made an impact with such genetically altered plant foods by also disarming their toxicity so that the poisons are not passed on to consumers.  If Professor Zhang can pull off this latest feat, the genetic power of those plants like broccoli and rice which are found lingering in the bloodstream long after ingestion will do much for changing our health for the better.

For now, suffice it to say that good nutrition is proven to be vital to us and especially to those of us in addiction recovery.  Granted, there is no “diet cure” for alcohol or drug addiction—yet—but as science continues to suggest, good nutrition can impact with beneficial physical as well as psychological effects.  That is, plant foods that can survive genetically certainly will have an effect on our mood, behaviour, and even cravings.

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Food for Thought: Important New Scientific Findings That May Alter Addiction

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