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Repairing DNA Damage

Greater DNA repair capacity may explain why those eating plant-based diets appear to have fewer breaks in their chromosomes as they age.

October 15, 2008 |
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Concord grapes, we just found out, may block breast cell DNA damage by blocking the binding of carcinogens to our DNA in the first place. Almonds and brussel sprouts, likewise may protect against DNA damage by boosting our own DNA repair mechanisms. There’s actually this enzyme that just spends its life just traveling up and down our DNA patching up holes.

As we age we accumulate breaks in our DNA—actual breaks in our chromosomes, which may be one of the reasons we get cancer, why our organs tend to break down as we get older. With the understanding that eating plants protects one’s DNA and eating animals may damage one’s DNA, last year Slovakian researchers measured to number of DNA breaks in vegetarians compared to meateaters, led by a Dr. KRAJČOVI—Dr. K They counted DNA breaks in both meateaters and vegetarians at 25 years of age through 65. Here’s the meateaters, as you can see sharp rise in DNA breakage as they aged through adulthood and middle age. Here’s the vegetarians… Notice two things: not only is the slope much more gradual, less DNA breakage as you age, but vegetarians at age 65 seem to have the DNA of a 25 year old!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on DNA damage. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

Also, be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer and Diet, Kiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel SyndromeIs Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?, and Foods That May Block Cancer Formation

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on DNA damage. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/DonnaMagrina/ Donna Magrina

    are there any forms of relief for Wegener’s Syndrome / Granulomatosis affecting my friend’s nasal (complete bridge collapse and on prednisone with no relief in sight)? Chinese medicine balance of yin/yang? Extensive Ayurvedic treatments? Medicinal Hemp Oil?

    I searched nutrituion facts. org …. no reference to this condition is listed

  • Peggy Kellough

    What if I just started going vegan this year, at age 67? No hope for previous DNA breaks then? too late? Thanks!

    • Michael Greger M.D.

       It’s never too late to start eating healthier!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Breast Cancer and Diet!

  • Marge

    I just love hearing good things about my diet!  I have been vegetarian (mostly vegan) for 33 years now. Thank you, Dr. Greger.

  • Alloalexandre

    Dr Greger, anyway you can record your videos a little bit louder? Thanks for the great work you do!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MoniDew Monica Dewart

    Dear Dr Greger, you mention in this video that there is an enzyme “we all have” with the sole responsibility of repairing holes in our DNA. I have been diagnosed with an MTHFR genetic defect. I’ve been told it is the job of this enzyme to correct my DNA. (Not certain if this is indeed the same enzyme to which you were referring in the video, but it’s certainly similar.) I am currently taking methylfolate to correct the defect, and it works marvelously for me. But I am unable to find further information within your database on the subject of MTHFR defects. Could you provide more information, please? Thank you!

  • RAJASEKAR

    HOW TO CURE NEURAL DIABETICS & NEURAL DNA DAMAGES?

  • Derrek

    Are these ingredients safe: Other ingredients: Microcrystalline cellulose (plant fiber), hypromellose (vegetable capsule, gellan gum), alfalfa, may contain one or both of the following: magnesium stearate, silica.