You Are What Your Mother Ate!

New science discovers how your genetic blueprint was permanently changed.

ALSO:  More important news about SLEEP – How it affects you and why you shouldn’t get too much or too little.  And CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME – a pilot study says probiotic supplements may ease YOUR symptoms of anxiety.

Lauderdale What’s more important: nature or nurture? The argument has been raging on for decades.  In other words, are you strictly the end result of your upbringing and actions? Or are you simply a product of your genes?

A safe bet is that we are a combination of both.  Our genes give us a blueprint with both positives and negatives and our actions either maximize or minimize the hand we’ve been dealt.

But, a new science has thickened the plot!How?  The new science is called “Epigenetics” and it attempts to explain how the environment can modify your genes.  That’s a unique twist to this debate – wouldn’t you say?

So, what does all this have to do with you?

Here’s what: On April 14th, 2009 Science Daily reported on an epigenetic report published in the FASEB Journal that found: “You are what your mother ate during pregnancy.”

In the report, scientists from the University of Utah showed rats that received poor nutrition in the womb genetically altered themselves to be born into a nutritionally deficient environment.

What’s that mean?  The rat fetuses’ genes actually changed to prepare them for the environment they were going to be born into.  Since there was poor nutrition in the womb, the rats were likely to grow to smaller sizes when compared to others born to “normal” nutrition levels.

Being smaller was not the only negative.  The rats also had a higher risk for many health problems throughout their lives such as: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and neuro developmental delays…just to name a few.

But These Are Rats!

How Are Humans Affected?

According to Science Daily, “Although the study involved rats, the genes and cellular mechanisms involved are the same as those in humans.”

Also according to Science Daily: “The new ‘epigenetics’ has taught us how nature is changed by nurture,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “The jury’s in and, yes, expectant moms really are eating for two. This study shows not only that we need to address problems such as preeclampsia during pregnancy, but also that prenatal care is far more important than anyone could have imagined a decade ago.”

After reading this interesting new information a few questions come to mind:  If a fetus can alter its genes to adapt to the environment they are being born into – can a person alter their genes to adapt to their environment AFTER they are born?

And what other positive changes can be made to the environment of the fetus.  If the environment is altered for the better – it makes sense the fetus would adapt genetically in a positive way.

But, until proper research is done, who knows for sure? But one thing makes sense: During pregnancy, everything should be done to ensure the developing fetus has the best possible environment.

Now For Another “Nurture” Factor Affecting Your Metabolism And Health…

Researchers at UC Irvine have discovered your body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) controls energy levels in your cells.  This is important news because it can lead to a new understanding of the amount of sleep we get, when we get it, and how routine we are with that pattern…and…metabolism and many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and more.

The study appeared online in Science Express on March 12th, 2009 and researchers found the proteins involved with circadian rhythm and metabolism are linked and dependent on each other.

Circadian rhythms are 24-hour sleep/wake patterns.  They help us adapt to environmental changes and the time of day.  Breaking these patterns can have detrimental effects on health.

According to researcher Paolo Sassone-Corsi, “Our circadian rhythms and metabolism are closely partnered to ensure that cells function properly and remain healthy.  This discovery opens a new window for us to understand how these two fundamental processes work together, and it can have a great impact on new treatments for diseases caused by cell energy deficiencies.”

Sassone-Corsi went on to say, “When the balance between these two vital processes is upset, normal cellular function can be disrupted and this can lead to illness and disease.”

These findings help explain why lack of proper sleep – both the amount and patterns – can lead to a plethora of health problems and increased aging.

The study suggests proper sleep and diet can help normalize the circadian rhythm balance.

For many years, countless health experts have advised going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every single day.  Even during weekends.  With this new information – this seems to be great advice.

If You Have Chronic Fatigue,

Probiotics May Ease Your Anxiety.

If you have Chronic Fatigue…this may be great news.

Here’s why:  A recent study showed two- month supplementation with probiotics might ease the symptoms of anxiety associated with chronic fatigue.

“These results lend further support to the presence of a gut-brain interface, one that may be mediated by microbes that reside or pass through the intestinal tract,” wrote the authors, led by Venket Rao from the University of Toronto.

In the study, 39 chronic fatigue syndrome patients were randomly assigned to receive probiotic lactobacillus casei strain shirota or a placebo for two months.

At the end of the study, one of the findings was a significant reduction of anxiety symptoms in the lactobacillus group.

Researchers mention that this is a pilot study and more research must be done, but it is great news and can have many implications and health value.

And don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help, and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in your lifelong good health.

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