NEW research has shown that molecular changes to people's genes are driven mainly by ageing but are also affected by what they eat.
The study, which involved scientists from Newcastle University and the Institute of Food Research, showed that while age had the biggest effects on these molecular changes, selenium and vitamin D reduced the accumulation of changes.
The researchers also found that obesity and a high level of vitamin B increased these changes.
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These findings support the idea that healthy ageing is affected by what people eat.
The B vitamin is essential for health and is found in many green-leafed vegetables, but in this study, high levels of B vitamins in the blood was associated with increased levels of genetic changes linked with bowel cancer.
These findings are consistent with some studies suggesting that excessive folic acid intakes may increase the risk of bowel cancer in some people.
Obesity is also a risk factor for bowel cancer. This study found relationships between body size and gene changes.
How excess body weight induces these changes, and the consequences for gut health, are being investigated.