Sick from stress? Blame your mom… and epigenetics

If you’re sick from stress, a new research report appearing in the August 2012 issue of The FASEB Journal 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.

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