Research has associated elevated homocysteine, which is a type of amino acid, with risk of cardiovascular disease. A common mutation in MTHFR1 is associated with elevated plasma homocysteine levels, though the association seems to be modified by dietary folate intake. Fortunately many countries, notably the United States, fortify flour with folate, thereby modifying the impact of the mutation on homocysteine. Individuals living in regions with low dietary folate may benefit from eating foods rich folate, B6, and B12. Reliable sources chickpeas (B6), salmon (B12), and spinach (folate).
Research has associated mutations in the apolipoprotein E with cardiovascular disease, hippocampal volume, cognitive decline, and poor outcome to traumatic brain injury. Accordingly, individuals with the higher risk mutation may benefit even more significantly from lifestyle modification intended to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. These behaviors include a 1) diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and olive oil, with limited red meat, processed foods, and sugary drinks, 2) A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise daily, 3) adequate (7-8hrs) of sleep each night, with early diagnosis of sleep apnea and other related sleep disorders.
Vitamin D has a role in a variety of biological functions, including bone health, immune function, and reduction of inflammation. A common mutation in the cell receptor that binds vitamin D has been repeatedly associated with reduced bone mineral density and calcium absorption. Accordingly, individuals with this mutation in the vitamin D receptor may have an even greater benefit from preemptive attention to bone health. Bone mineral density may be improved with a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and mineral rich fruits and vegetables.
Choline is an essential nutrient involved in the structural integrity of cell membranes and neurotransmitter synthesis, among others. Research has shown remarkable genetic influences on susceptibility to choline deficiency, notably a mutation in MTHD1 associated the 15 times greater risk of developing signs of choline deficinecy, including organ dysfunction and lymphocyte DNA damage, when on a low choline diet. Choline rich foods include salmon and eggs.
GSTP1 is a member of a family of enzymes involved in the protection of tissues from oxidative stress. A common mutation in GSTP1 reduces the activity of the enzyme, and is associated with reduced antioxidant capacity, and increased risk of smoke and pollution induced lung damage. Fortunately, individuals with this low activity form show the greatest benefits from dietary antioxidant consumption.