Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blame your Mother.....

Just wanted to point to a couple of interesting things I saw today.  I have remarked previously on this blog that the cool topics seem at the moment to be:

  • the microbiome - the bacteria that live in and on us and have a profound impact on our health
  • epigenetics - your genes are not your destiny, they do not provide an absolute blueprint, but a set of options;  it is the genes that are expressed / turned on that are important.  Lots of things in your environment - even before birth - control this.
  • mitochondria - the strange little symbiotic organelles / primitive cells that live within our cells and are central to generating energy, oxidising fuel.

Here are two stories that relate to a couple of these:

  • Delivery by caesarean section and risk of obesity - now fatter women often end up having c sections so that may be one factor, but I've also seen discussion that one element may be that a vaginal birth exposes the baby to essentil bacteria, priming the immune system, setting the hormal system.  Avoiding this set of bacteria avoids what is actually an essential stage of birth, a vital challenge, a good stress.
  • Sick from stress? Blame your mom… and epigenetics - this study .....
If you're sick from stress, a new research report appearing in the August 2012 issue of The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) suggests that what your mother ate—or didn't eat—may be part of the cause. The report shows that choline intake that is higher than what is generally recommended during pregnancy may improve how a child responds to stress. These improvements are the result of epigenetic changes that ultimately lead to lower cortisol levels. Epigenetic changes affect how a gene functions, even if the gene itself is not changed. Lowering cortisol is important as high levels of cortisol are linked to a wide range of problems ranging from mental health to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

This epigenetic thing is really interesting in the context of diet, training and fitness.  We think about what we can do to alter our bodies and our fitness, but so much has already been done by our environment, particularly the womb that we were in.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As to bacterial exposure during birth, where the birth occurs matters. In a hospital setting the exposure is to the environment at large, not necessarily the best thing. Birth at home with a mid-wife provides much less unwanted exposure.