Stress and Anxiety During Pregnancy Linked to Autism, ADHD, and Anxiety in Children – Hypomethylation Related
Anything we can do to reduce the chances our children will suffer from autism, ADD, ADHD, anxiety, etc. would be worth paying attention to right?
I have published a blog (you can see it here… ) showing that maternal folate supplements cut that risk in half. You will hear over and over that most health issues are “genetic” but they are referring to epigenetic, meaning how our genes respond to the environment (we can often make the environment friendly rather than hostile).
The study (you can read here… ), “Differential gene body methylation and reduced expression of cell adhesion and neurotransmitter receptor genes in adverse maternal environment”, is an important study, complicated beyond words in the details. I see two very important take home messages:
1. Avoid maternal stress during pregnancy, it can harm your unborn child when mom is stressed. Treat her like a queen!
2. Support methylation, and I would recommend in addition to methyl-folate, methyl-B12 and a B-complex. (Ceralin Forte by Metagenics does it all in one supplement and is available at my office or from Metagenics). Get advice from your provider on whether or not this might be OK for your specific case, but if it were my wife or child I would have them take just one capsule a day (not the 3 recommended on the bottle), along with her prenatal vitamin, extra vitamin D for a total of 4-5,000 IU vitamin D3 a day, omega-3, and make sure the prenatal vitamin has iodine.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP’s) are unique codes in our genetic code that respond to the environment. In this study CRHR1, DRD3, ADORA2A, CHRNA4, GABRG3, and GABBR2 were all methylated differently in the stressed moms and are linked to anxiety. Differential methylation was also detected in GRIN1, the gene for the NMDA NR1 subunit and in GRIK3 and GRIK4 the genes for KA receptor subunits. Other SNP’s with differential methylation leading to anxiety were the GRIP1, SHANK1, 2, 3 as well as the CACNA1C and KCNJ genes.
What is exciting, is that with almost all these SNP’s where we each may have hundreds if not thousands of “glitches” (most unknown at this point) representing genetic strengths and weaknesses in enzyme systems and neurotransmitters, rather than thinking you are doomed, you can do something about it. In most cases, health is just a few supplements, and healthy living life-style changes, away! Support methylation by taking methyl-B12, methyl-folate, and consider getting your genetic profile tested. Consider having Spectracell drawn so you will know specifically which nutrients are not getting into your cells. Spectracell is offered at Integrative Pediatrics for children (www.drpaul.md) , and at Natura Integrative Medicine (www.naturaintegrativemedicine.com) for adults.