We sat down with Dr. Alfredo Galvez, the scientist behind Reliv’s LunaRich® soy powder, to discuss how the lunasin soy peptide works at the epigenetic level to promote optimal health.
The sequencing of the human genome was hailed by scientists at that time to be the harbinger of medical miracles. Yet 12 years later, deciphering our DNA has brought us no closer to understanding, much less finding effective preventive approaches for, major chronic diseases. The good news: groundbreaking research is uncovering a higher level of complexity beyond genetic variation. Even better news: proper nutrition can produce positive changes at this higher level.
Q: What is the epigenome and what role does it play in cell function?
To better explain the epigenome, you must first understand what the genome is. The genome is the DNA that makes up a living thing — the blueprint of life. Each cell in our body contains the same DNA, or genome. Epigenome literally means “beyond the genome” and represents another layer of complexity. The role of the epigenome is to essentially tell the genome what to do by dictating which genes to turn on or off inside the cell. We have more than 300 cell types — skin cells, liver cells, brain cells, etc. — that look and function differently even though they have the same DNA. What differs among these cells is their epigenome.
Q: How can nutrition promote optimal functioning of the epigenome?
The epigenome changes as we age and interact with our environment. However, unlike unwanted changes in the genome, which we call mutations and are permanent, those changes to the epigenome can be reversed so as to promote optimal functioning of the cell. Research is now revealing that good eating and lifestyle habits, along with supplementation with natural bioactive agents such as those found in Reliv products, have the ability to promote those changes in the epigenome that can lead to healthier cells.
Q: How does the soy peptide lunasin affect the epigenome?
I discovered lunasin by accident 16 years ago. One of the important observations that I made through many hours of looking through the microscope was that lunasin can attach itself to the epigenome and, as a result, can increase expression of important genes needed for normal functioning of the cell and protect the cells from environmental damage once it occurs. That’s how lunasin has both maintenance and preventive roles in the cell. It maintains optimal functioning of the epigenome and prevents unwanted changes that can eventually lead to chronic diseases.
Q: What benefits of lunasin is research uncovering?
From my initial experiments I was able to identify lunasin’s mechanism of action and how it modulates the epigenome. Understanding this, I then discovered lunasin can reduce the production of bad cholesterol in the liver and can explain the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein. The University of Illinois later found that lunasin has anti-inflammatory effects, UC Berkley uncovered its antioxidant benefits and Purdue University recently proved that lunasin enhances innate immunity. We anticipate discovering additional health benefits of lunasin in the months and years to come.
Q: How does the elevated lunasin content in LunaRich soy powder help promote the effectiveness of other ingredients in Reliv products?
Lunasin enhances other bioactive agents in two ways:
- Synergism: It works synergistically with those agents. Each of these bioactive agents has its own specific effect on genes and physiological pathways. We know that chronic diseases are caused by multiple pathways and interaction of those pathways. So if we disrupt several of these pathways by using different bioactive nutrients, we can potentially produce a more effective way of preventing chronic diseases.
- Increased potency/efficacy: We’ve also shown in our research that lunasin can increase the potency or efficacy of other bioactive agents. For example, some bioactive agents are activators on some important genes involved in maintaining health. Once these genes are activated, lunasin has the ability to further increase their expression by making them more readily recognized by the cell
Q: What new developments can we expect to learn about lunasin and LunaRich in the coming months?
Lunasin research continues at top institutions across the country. And we are very excited with some of the latest results of research at the Missouri Plant Science Center with Reliv Now® with LunaRich. I can’t reveal the details of the results just yet, but I can say they are very, very promising and that you’ll be able to see them in the next few months. We’re working hard to come up with new nutritional solutions for Reliv, especially new combinations of Reliv products and lunasin/LunaRich. So stay tuned for some exciting news coming soon!
Dr. Alfredo Galvez is a renowned research scientist at the Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics at UC Davis and lead scientific advisor at the Missouri Plant Science Center. Dr. Galvez first discovered lunasin in 1996 during research at UC Berkley to improve the nutritional profile of soy protein.
LunaRich Delivers Results
As a vehicle safety inspector, I have to crawl under trucks and buses all day. Joint problems were making my job nearly unbearable. I started on Reliv Now with LunaRich and felt better almost right away! My wife, Sheila, lost 32 pounds and feels great too! – Mark Willingham, Reno, NV
I donated a kidney, so my doctor keeps a close eye on my cholesterol. LunaRich has helped lower my bad cholesterol, increase my good cholesterol and cut my triglycerides nearly in half! People who were never interested in Reliv before now suddenly want to know more. – Juanita Jachetta, Warden, WA