Recorded Webinar: Nutritional Epigenetics and the Importance of Diet to Support the PON1 Gene

This webinar took place on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, from 2-3:30 p.m. ET.

Nutritional epigenetics is a new sub-discipline of biology and is recognized worldwide as the science that studies the effects of nutrition on gene behavior. Of the approximately 20,000 genes that make up the human genome, there are only a few that are known to play a key role in the development and prevention of so-called western disease. The PON1 gene is one of these well-studied genes and is responsible for the production of the HDL-associated protein “paraoxonase,” which is used by the body to break down toxic organophosphate (OP) pesticide residues. While the use of OPs is banned in much of the world, some are still used on food crops in the United States.1 Exposure to these residues is associated with the development of several western disease conditions and may also contribute to adverse birth outcomes, making health care professionals’ basic understanding of OPs and PON1 vital. 2,3,4 

Join Dr. Renee Dufault and Dr. McKale Montgomery for a webinar that will discuss the role of the PON1 gene in a person’s overall health and provide a detailed look at the importance of diets that support PON1 activity. Drs. Dufault and Montgomery will examine FDA regulations that allow heavy metal residues in specific food ingredients and products and discuss how RDs can advise patients on avoiding OP exposure through diet, occupation, and environment. 

Learning Objectives

After attending this session, health care professionals should be able to:

  1. Define nutritional epigenetics and give an example of a gene impacted by diet quality.
  2. Describe the role(s) of the PON1 gene.
  3. Explain the impact of organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure on health and birth outcomes.
  4. Counsel clients on ways to avoid OP pesticide exposure.
  5. Develop meal plans that support PON1 gene activity.


1. Biomonitoring summary. (2021, September 8).
2. Dufault et al. (2023). Higher rates of autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in American children: Are food quality issues impacting epigenetic inheritance? World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, 12(2):25-37.
3. Mahrooz A, Mackness M. (2020). Epigenetics of paraoxonases. Curr Opin Lipidol, 31(4): 200-205.
4. Meneses MJ, Silvestre R, Sousa-Lima I, Macedo MP. (2019). Paraoxonase-1 as a regulator of glucose and lipid homeostasis: 
Impact on the onset and progression of metabolic disorders. Int J Mol Sci, 20(16): 4049.

Additional Information

CDR Activity Type: 
CPE Level: 
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 CDR
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Dr. Renee Dufault completed her PhD at A.T. Still University. She retired early from her position as a US Public Health Service officer at the FDA to publish her findings of mercury in high fructose corn syrup and the first-ever nutritional epigenetics model describing the role dietary factors play in the development of behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. 

As an FDA whistleblower, Dr. Dufault could not find employment as a researcher, so she founded the non-profit, Food Ingredient and Health Research Institute, where she currently works as a volunteer. She supplements her income working as a teacher, lecturer, and adjunct professor whenever possible.

Dr. Dufault is considered a leader in the field of nutritional epigenetics with more than 751 citations according to Google Scholar. In 2023, she was elected by the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) to serve as the At-Large Delegate for their Nutrient-Gene Interactions Research Interest Section. 


Dr. McKale Montgomery received her degree in nutrition and dietetics from Texas Christian University, and her master’s and PhD in nutritional sciences from Oklahoma state University (OSU). She then completed her postdoctoral training in biomedical sciences at Midwestern University, before returning to OSU as faculty in 2017. 

At OSU, Dr. Montgomery teaches classes on Human Metabolism and Precision Nutrition. She also maintains an externally-funded research program focused on nutrient-gene interactions and chronic disease development. 

The faculty and planners for this educational activity have no relevant financial relationship(s) with ineligible companies to disclose. 

An “ineligible company” includes any entity whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. 

In support of improving patient care, Great Valley Publishing Company is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. 

This activity will also award credit for dietetics (CDR CPEU). 

RDs and DTRs are to select activity type 102 in their Activity Log. Sphere and Competency selection is at the learner’s discretion. 

Available Credit

  • 1.50 CDR


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