Humans and animals are made of cells. Brain cells, muscle cells, eye cells, skin cells, etc are what we are made of. It doesn't matter if you are from 5,000 years ago, whether you are male or female or what breed of dog it may be.
The majority of cells have, or should have, the same basic structure. They should have a cell membrane composed of primarily a fatty acid matrix bound with amino acids, certain vitamins and minerals. Inside of that cell is DNA, RNA genes, mitochondria, cytoplasm and other components that make up the intracellular portion of the cell. The mitochondria is where ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is produced. This is the chemical energy that runs cell function and all plant and animal life. When you die, no matter how, you stop producing ATP. With all aging and disease there is a decrease in ATP production. ATP is the difference between life and death.
All animals are born with a certain, individual genetic makeup. However, from the beginning of life, those genes are constantly "expressing" or "coding" and being repaired, produced and replicating. Genes contain the "biological program" that controls what our cells do from constantly building enzymes and proteins to burning and properly utilizing fats and sugars for energy. Every aspect of cell structure and function, down to the formation of nucleotides to make DNA to make genes is all dependent upon nutrients. The bottom line is all animals are made of cells and cells are made of and function on nutrients. Nothing else will or can work. This is why two thirds of the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) for pharmaceutical drugs is side-effects, warnings and contraindications to the drugs. They are not nutrients and therefore cannot be involved in the structure and proper function of the cells and thus actually damage and impede cell structure and function.
Nutrigenomics is the science of how nutrition affects and is involved with genetics. Genes are like software programs installed in computers. The software does nothing until you turn on the computer and begin typing. Likewise, genes do nothing by themselves. They are a product of their environment. Exercise, emotions, stress, and toxins are examples of things that influence gene activity and function. However, the most important aspect influencing your gene activity and function is the nutrients you put into your body to feed your cells and thus genes.
Amazing research has been done using nutritional supplementation and the prevention and reversal of gene related diseases. Specific vitamin supplementation programs have reversed and significantly reduced symptoms of Down's Syndrome which is caused by a genetic defect. Birth defects caused by variations in the MTHFR gene are prevented by sufficient folic acid supplementation. The APOE gene associated with increased Alzheimer's disease is greatly reduced with sufficient vitamin E intake. Blood clots, heart disease and pain are all greatly reduced in those with sickle cell anemia, an inherited genetic defect, in those who take sufficient B vitamins and vitamin E along with other nutritional supplements. Skin color has been able to be changed and diabetes reversed with aggressive nutrition supplementation in mice.
Feeding yourself and your dog a "nutrient dense" diet which consists primarily of quality animal proteins, fish along with vegetables is the optimal diet to promote healthy gene function. Most diets are too high in sugars and carbohydrates, even if they are whole grains and fruits. These foods cause increases in blood sugar and corresponding insulin release. Insulin is a hormone that brings down blood sugar. It also controls gene activity and turns on genes that make fat cells, promote cancer, clogs arteries and accelerates aging.
I believe that combining the proper diet with the optimal synergistic amounts of nutritional supplements, not the RDA amount, is the most powerful, underutilized aspect of health in humans and animals. Feed yourself and your dog with the right diet and supplements and you can prevent disease, extend life, optimize physical and mental performance, and even change and improve genetic make-up and function.