To better understand how bio-active compounds in food and certain supplements (such as the berberine, milk thistle, and taurine found in OsteoStim) work to improve health, we first need to understand the epigenetics of nutrigenomics (a fancy word for how nutrition affects our genetics).
Epigenetics: We know what genetics is about: a biological map of how we are put together and what makes us who we are…what makes us unique…but what about epigenetics? Epigenetics refers to external modifications to DNA (not actual changes to DNA sequencing) that turn genes “on” or “of”. A good example of this is methylation. Methyl groups are molecules consisting of one carbon and 3 hydrogen atoms. When a methyl group is added to other molecules it is called methylation, and when a methyl group is taken away it is called demethylation. When adding or detaching methyl groups to molecules, it has the effect of ‘turning on” or “turning off” a biochemical reaction. It’s kind of like turning a light on or off with a switch. This is epigenetics at work. In epigenetics, the DNA sequence has not changed, only how that DNA is being read. The modifications caused by methylation (and other histone modifications) only affect how that genetic information is going to be used: for example how the DNA will or won’t produce proteins.
When it comes to nutrigenomics and bone health, DNA methylation is extremely important. (Too much is not good and too little is not good…both can lead to osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.) “Methyl switches” (and other switch forms) work to control just about everything in the body, including how bone forms and how it is broken down; how it is remodeled. We usually hear of methylation as it relates to cardiovascular and neurological disease, but methylation is also important for skeletal health.