Trauma can be passed down genetically for four generations; the impact on Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Traumas that happened to your recent ancestors could be affecting your health today —new research shows "epigenetic memory" can be passed down to as many as four generations. Epigenetics is the study of factors that can switch genes on and off. These factors can have played a role in your Hashimoto's low thyroid and that of your yet-conceived children. Studies link epigenetic impacts on dysfunctions in learning and memory, autoimmunity, reproduction, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The CDC estimates genetics only represent a mere 10 percent of what causes disease. Epigenetics account for the remaining 90 percent thanks to environmental variables. Consider the following: In pregnant rats exposed to chemicals that disrupt reproduction, male infertility in offspring was passed down through four subsequent generations. Our internal responses to traumatic experiences can also be passed down multiple generations; it's believed this is a survival adaptation. For instance, mice who learned to fear a scent related to a traumatic experience passed that response down to two generations, even though the progeny never experienced the same situation. This also has been observed in humans: Starvation during pregnancy is associated with poor health outcomes for offspring, including:
Descendants of Holocaust survivors show abnormal stress hormone profiles and low cortisol production, increasing their risk for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Children of women exposed to domestic partner violence during pregnancy are more at risk for mental illness, behavioral problems, and psychological abnormalities. Epigenetics explains how our lifestyle, diet, environment, and experiences affect the expression of our genes over multiple generations, but it does not account for actual changes to our genetic code. It's easy to see how these factors can raise our risk of Hashimoto's low thyroid.
Factors that affect epigenetics
The following factors can turn genes on or off via epigenetics:
Where you live
Who you interact with
Social support (or lack of it)
Method of birth (cesarean vs. vaginal)
Broader sociocultural and ecological factors include:
Urban or rural residence
We inherit one gene variant from each parent. Epigenetics turns these genes on or off. This can cause a negative health outcome if the other gene variant is defective or increases health risk for disorders such as Hashimoto's low thyroid.
Using epigenetics for good
Some factors we have no control over, such as environmental toxins, our birth, and exposure to some level of stress. However, we can positively affect our epigenetics through these methods:
Good sleep habits
Who we interact with
Addressing food intolerances
These factors are also foundational to managing Hashimoto's low thyroid as well. Functional medicine offers many avenues to support healthy epigenetic expression. If you seek ways to help your body express its genes in the best ways possible, contact my office for help and for help managing your Hashimoto's low thyroid.
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.