Are you passing on your stress to your kids ?

parents stressed outWe’re not talking about picking up your habits and approaches to stressful situations, but actually changing their genetic blueprint.

Epigenetics means stress can be inherited

For years, the idea that what happened to you, could be passed to the next generation was ridiculed.

But as science unpacks the human genome, the concept of inheritance has expanded to include not just which genes you get, but which genes are firing and which genes are on some kind of go slow.

One of the big factors which contributes to gene expression, is how they are positioned in the chromatin – genes on the “outside” will be expressed frequently, genes tucked away “inside” will not.

The structure of the package

One of the genes which influences the structure of the package i.e. the heterochromatin assembly, is activation transcription factor-2 or ATF-2 for short.

But ATF-2 is a little moody. Only when the environment is “stressful” it is turned on, so when there are lots of inflammatory chemicals floating about, as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS), this is when ATF-2 is switched on altering the packaging of DNA.

Stress in fruit flies flips ATF-2

Stressed fruit flies have the ATF-2 gene buzzing which brings about changes in gene expression. Genes that are usually silent start “talking”.stressed out baby

So what ? Makes sense, if you’re dealing with stress, you want to have all the guns firing to help you deal with the stress.

Stressed out babies

Baby fruit flies, produced by stressed out adult fruit flies, are born firing all the guns as well, even when they are born into a “peaceful” world.

Do stressed humans produce “stressed” babies ?

Probably. We also carry the ATF-2 gene.

So if you’re in the business of procreating – try dial down the stress.

Inheritance of Stress-Induced, ATF-2-Dependent Epigenetic Change. Cell (2011) 145 (7): 1049-1061 Ki-Hyeon Seong, Dong Li, Hideyuki Shimizu, Ryoichi Nakamura, Shunsuke Ishii.


Need to manage your stress chemistry ?

Join our database and receive our free monthly e-zine, which is full of stories which whill  help you get your body chemistry back in balance.

Know someone who will find this post useful ? Share it on facebook, linkedin, twitter

Further reading

sperm carrying altered fat genes
hungry for nice things
bacteria leaving a stressful situation
Does obesity  begin in the bedroom not the kitchen ? Why stress makes you feel hungry for nice things  Stress eruptions cause gut residents to flee 

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

This entry was posted in Stress and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Trackback

  1. [...] Are you passing on your stress to your kids ? Big Spoons [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>