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View Full Version : Vegetarianism may be favored by modern European genes.



Angela
12-06-17, 20:12
Well, that's how some are interpreting the issue. Or maybe they just wanted a catchy title to get some attention.

See:
https://phys.org/news/2017-06-modern-european-genes-favor-vegetarianism.html

"The study – the first to separate and compare adaptations that occurred before and after the Neolithic revolution – reveals that these dietary practices are reflected in the genes of Europeans. Researchers collected data from more than 25 other studies that examined ancient DNA from fossils and archaeological remains (dating back to 30,000 years ago until about 2,000 years ago), and DNA from contemporary populations.The study found that adaptations occurred in an important genomic region that includes three fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genes. Different versions of the same FADS1 gene, called alleles, corresponded to the types of diets that were adopted."

"The study shows that vegetarian diets (https://phys.org/tags/vegetarian+diets/) of European farmers led to an increased frequency of an allele that encodes cells to produce enzymes that helped farmers metabolize plants. Frequency increased as a result of natural selection (https://phys.org/tags/natural+selection/), where vegetarian farmers with this allele had health advantages that allowed them to have more children, passing down this genetic variant to their offspring."
"The FADS1 gene found in these vegetarian farmers produces enzymes that play a vital role in the biosynthesis of omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA). These LCPUFAs are crucial for proper human brain development, controlling inflammation and immune response. While omega-3 and omega-6 LCPUFA can be obtained directly from animal-based diets, they are absent from plant-based diets. Vegetarians require FADS1 enzymes to biosynthesize LCPUFA from short-chain fatty acids (https://phys.org/tags/fatty+acids/) found in plants (roots, vegetables and seeds).Analysis of ancient DNA revealed that prior to humans' farming, the animal-based diets of European hunter-gatherers predominantly favored the opposite version of the same gene, which limits the activity of FADS1 enzymes and is better suited for people with meat and seafood-based diets.
Analysis of the frequencies of these alleles in Europeans showed that the prevalence of the allele for plant-based diets decreased in Europeans until the Neolithic revolution, after which it rose sharply. Concurrently, the opposite version of the same gene found in hunter-gatherers increased until the advent of farming, after which it declined sharply.
The researchers also found a gradient in the frequencies of these alleles from north to south since the Neolithic Era, including modern-day populations. All farmers relied heavily on plant-based diets, but that reliance was stronger in the south, as compared to northern Europeans – whose farmer (https://phys.org/tags/farmer/) ancestors drank more milk and included seafood in their diet."

This is the actual paper:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0167

bicicleur
13-06-17, 10:59
they should have compared frequencies of those alleles in European vegetarians compared to Europe as a whole

I think todays vegetarianism is more induced by culture than by genes

they also imply that vegetarians without the proper genes may get shortage of omega 3 and 6

Angela
13-06-17, 17:28
they should have compared frequencies of those alleles in European vegetarians compared to Europe as a whole

I think todays vegetarianism is more induced by culture than by genes

they also imply that vegetarians without the proper genes may get shortage of omega 3 and 6

I agree. I don't dispute that humans adapted to different diets, but the farmers weren't vegetarians per se. They came to Europe with their cattle and sheep and goats. I think the human digestive tract is adapted for both meat/fish and plants.

I personally could never be a vegetarian; I love meat and fish far too much, and I do think it's hard to get the proper nutrients without them in the diet.

Vegetarianism is too politically loaded and aggressive in some people. I find it annoying to be honest. Maybe spending summers on a farm has something to do with it. Someone will lecture me about eating sausage while wearing leather shoes. Not that I advocate wearing plastic shoes either; that has all sorts of effects on the environment.

I do think in the future doctors might be able to tell us if a more heavily protein laden diet or the opposite is better for someone individually, but even then you need some of the other, I think. Moderation in all things is the way to go.

LeBrok
13-06-17, 18:29
If anyone on this planet, South Asians, especially Indians are the closest thing to vegetarianism. I bet they have the most genetic predispositions to it. This predispositions will not only be found in digestive tract but also in brain architecture, to make you feel very pleasant when eating greens. Natures way to make sure you eat what you should. Leading us through life by taste buds.

bicicleur
13-06-17, 18:53
those fundamental vegetarians would make us all live on seaweed
they argue meat production is to polluting

maybe we do consume to much meat nowadays, it used to be a luxury product and now we can get as much as we want
but having to give it all up, it is ridiculous
next step, they could grow humans like plants and feed them through a tube to optimise the highest number of humans for the least consumption of resources of our planet

bicicleur
13-06-17, 18:55
I guess there were some early neolithic tribes who consumed very little meat.
They used their domesticates for dairy instead of meat.
I don't know, but data must be available as to which farmers slaughtered their domesticates at which ages.

davef
13-06-17, 19:16
I'm not much of a meat fan, but the idea that meat in of itself is unhealthy is ridiculous. It's the hormones and other nonsense factories put into their meat products that contribute to health issues.

@Angela
Someone who I barely know used to constantly berate non vegans like no tomorrow..she's known for giving long winded condemning lectures to non vegans as if they are soul sucking, animal despising demons.

As for the early farmers, the ones up north probably had more whg ancestry which led to their higher meat intake....or farming was more difficult in colder climates.

And I doubt the early farmers were vegan. When you lose your crops, hunting is the best alternative in the interim.

LeBrok
13-06-17, 19:28
I'm not much of a meat fan, but the idea that meat in of itself is unhealthy is ridiculous. It's the hormones and other nonsense factories put into their meat products that contribute to health issues.

@Angela
Someone who I barely know used to constantly berate non vegans like no tomorrow..she's known for giving long winded condemning lectures to non vegans as if they are soul sucking, animal despising demons.

As for the early farmers, the ones up north probably had more whg ancestry which led to their higher meat intake....or farming was more difficult in colder climates.

And I doubt the early farmers were vegan. When you lose your crops, hunting is the best alternative in the interim.
Good points. We should also mention that consumption of animal fats increases survival during cold winters.

I eat everything with moderation. Although the emphasis of my diet goes into food my ancestors ate. Is it cultural or "genetic taste", I should have some predisposition, or even continuity of gut flora to help me digest this food. So far so good, and I stick to moderation.
My other culinary guideline is to eat all the food groups and variety of foods in general, to make sure my body finds all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

halfalp
14-06-17, 07:14
I dont believe to all this studies who clame eat that, for a perfect health, i think they misinterprete good chemical association with human health, wich is very different. If you go back in time and give a freaking cheeseburger to an hunter-gatherer i'm pretty sur he gonna test it and he gonna like it. In fact, human doesn't really need a lot for being healthy, it's not with having a perfect ratio of calcium, that you not gonna break your leg.

Dagne
14-06-17, 08:19
I believe that science about food is too much generalised.

Look at this study - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170606135754.htm

In the journal Cell Metabolism on June 6, Weizmann Institute researchers report the results of a comprehensive, randomised trial in 20 healthy subjects comparing differences in how processed white bread and artisanal whole wheat sourdough affect the body.
"The initial finding, and this was very much contrary to our expectation, was that there were no clinically significant differences between the effects of these two types of bread on any of the parameters that we measured," says Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and one of the study's senior authors. "We looked at a number of markers, and there was no measurable difference in the effect that this type of dietary intervention had."
"The findings for this study are not only fascinating but potentially very important, because they point toward a new paradigm: different people react differently, even to the same foods," says Eran Elinav (@EranElinav), a researcher in the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute and another of the study's senior authors. "To date, the nutritional values assigned to food have been based on minimal science, and one-size-fits-all diets have failed miserably."
He adds: "These findings could lead to a more rational approach for telling people which foods are a better fit for them, based on their microbiomes."


What is important is personal response to food. And this response to food as we all know depends on only on the food but on the mental state that any person is in. For instance, if a person very is much upset or angry about something or somebody they just cannot eat. Or I have a friend with Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is because that she is very much stressed and upset about everything in her life. And so far she cannot change that, not cure seems to help her...
And by the way, I am sort of vegetarian (not meat) but sometimes fish, though according to the study under this thread Lithuanians should have more chance of having hunter gatherer genetic make-up for preferring meat.

bicicleur
14-06-17, 09:35
A personal response to food, I believe that is true.
Influenced by personal genes and mental state.

MarkoZ
14-06-17, 12:10
The FADS gene cluster is at (or close to) fixation in most of Africa if I recall correctly. My guess is that this has less to do with farming and vegetarianism and more with the fact that heat adapted species have little EPA/DHA PUFAs. There's no cod or salmon in the tropics. LOL @ the idea that people around the Mediterranean didn't eat sea food.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oB-8L5Xm4pQ/UFqz9IEc2KI/AAAAAAAAGbo/JXdF6RzGEkQ/s640/journal.pone.0044926.g003.png

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0044926