Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms, it is caused by modification of gene expression. DNA doesn’t compose the helical structure of the human genome. Epigenes lies above the genome adding another layer to the spiraled genetic structure. Due to environmental factors such as stress, cigarette smoking, and food alter epigones to change the structure of genes. These epigenetic modifications activate and deactivate genes in ways that help or harm a person’s health. Food is one essential way in which a person can control their epigenetic (Gaynor, 2014).
In the article Nutritional psychiatry your brain on food: discusses how Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. How does this relate to depression? Since about 95% of a person’s serotonin is produced in their gastrointestinal tract, and their gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, the inner workings of a person digestive system do not just help a person digest food but also guide their emotions (Selhub, 2015).
“Studies have found that deficiencies in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are often associated with depression” (Rao et al.,2008).
The function of the neurotransmitters and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin is highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up a persons intestinal microbiome. These bacteria play an essential role in a person’s health. They protect the lining of a person’s intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they limit inflammation; they improve how well a person absorb nutrients from their food, and they activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain.