Fructose in the diet can mean epigenomic reprogramming of the brain, changing the expression of hundreds of genes, including genes that may lead to a greater predisposition toward metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and brain disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A link between fructose and the epigenome, report UCLA scientists in the journal EBioMedicine, has emerged from an exercise in an emerging discipline called nutrigenomics. “We further demonstrate,” the article’s authors added, “that an omega-3 DHA, reverses the genomic and network perturbations elicited by fructose, providing molecular support for nutritional interventions to counteract diet-induced metabolic and brain disorders.”
Animals that had been given only the fructose navigated the maze about half as fast as the rats that drank only water—indicating that the fructose diet had impaired their memory. The rats that had been given fructose and DHA, however, showed very similar results to those that only drank water. This finding strongly suggests that the DHA eliminated fructose’s harmful effects. Other tests on the rats revealed more major differences: The rats receiving a high-fructose diet had much higher blood glucose, triglycerides, and insulin levels than the other two groups. Those results are linked to obesity, diabetes, and many other diseases.
Although DHA appears to be quite beneficial, Yang said it is not a magic bullet for curing diseases. Additional research will be needed to determine the extent of its ability to reverse damage to human genes. Such research could determine whether Bgn and Fmod are suitable targets for new drugs that could treat diseases stemming from disturbed gene-expression patterns in the brain.