The Generational Echo of Anxiety: Unveiling the genetic Link
How ignoring the compounding effects of our internal state negatively effects our genes as well as our offspring.
This topic, of course, could be an entire encyclopedia and a lifetime's worth of study. However, more recently I’ve been looking into a meta-analysis on what may have been causing the expansion of anxiety across a population, and then what could potentially create a contraction.
I’d like to start with genetics, it has been more recently widely studied that an issue with the expression of the MTHFR gene causes an inability to deal with stress the way that we were designed to, and people often feel that this stress seems to come out of nowhere. Fear seemingly about nothing but that encapsulates us. The same people with his gene mutation are often seen to be the ones that do not respond to mental health medications, and say that they just make them feel numb. We see this a lot within the veteran community.
Everything that goes into our body is converted into usable form. Just like we pull crude oil out of the ground but you can put crude oil into your car. This gene mutation causes an issue with converting folate into its usable form, which has been directly linked to numerous psychiatric conditions. Now there are some supplements that can help with methylation in the gut that seems to alleviate some of the anxiety issues within those people that have the gene mutation but instead of just providing solutions, I’d also like to take a look at the origin.
For quick reference, the supplements that were studied are 5 Methylfolate and SAMe. The studies referenced discuss dosages.
In the study of Epigenetics, we can see that gene expression can actually be changed from one person’s experience. So for example, trauma could change the expression of our genes. We can see the opposite happen with practices such as meditation.
Multiple studies have shown us that gene mutations based on trauma can be passed down through a multitude of generations. What this means is an unchecked stress response that becomes chronic and creates a gene mutation that can carry throughout our offspring, and that’s a fact, subsequent generations.
Researchers out of Zurich were able to immediately see the changes happen in mice for 6 generations.
So, if this is true, then the inverse must also be true, that if we can learn to change the expressions of our genes in a positive manner, then we can reverse the cycle. In order to train the population to do this, it will take a larger undertaking. I believe the first step would be in first helping people deal with stress inducing issues in a way that they can process them so that gene expression is not changed. This brings us to the great importance of the idea of mental health and fitness.
It's unfortunate that these tools were not taught earlier in life, if at all. But the truth is, that it would be most beneficial for society if the youth fully understood how to process emotion and stress in a way that is beneficial for all. We can increase our capacity to handle oxidative stress through specific mind/body training protocols.
This is not to say that we have the perfect solution for this issue, it is just to say that awareness of issues like how anxiety can be passed down can help us fix the problem, not only for ourselves, but for future generations.
A way that we could help those in need would be to get tested for this gene mutation as well as start with the supplements mentioned. This can potentially at least put these people in a specific mind frame where they can start to handle the stress in a better way, and perhaps not pass along the gene mutations.
My goal here was to simply create awareness of the importance of looking at how we are functioning internally. Being “burnt out” can affect us in ways we truly can’t imagine and may not be able to track.
We need to start by clearing stress chemicals in the body like adrenaline and cortisol. This can be done with breath, movement and meditation. All of which most are familiar with. But one of the most impactful things that has helped me is the art of mental shifting through writing.
We all know how it may feel to “get something off your chest.” It is a form of processing and transmuting energy. We can’t always do this and most often hold ourselves back when doing so as to not come off like someone who should be institutionalized. So, in order to circumvent this issue, writing seems to be an incredibly powerful tool.
What to do about it:
Over the last couple of years I’ve worked to refine a process of writing for different situations that anyone can use. I have put it into a course called Mental Shifting, with easily fillable digital forms. You can read more about it with the link.
When I returned from deploying while in the military I remember so much discomfort internally. It could have been for many reasons, but it seemed to be the result of constantly pushing down emotions and never fully processing them. Who knows how this would have changed my physiology over time. And I believe this is what is happening to most of us.
Once I started with the mental shifting, unwarranted emotional waves started going away, nightmares went away, and I felt much more at peace, less triggered.
I hope the same can work for you.
It's sometimes hard to do things for ourselves. So, if not for you, then for future generations.
Link to Mental Shifting
Folate Insufficiency Due to MTHFR Deficiency Is Bypassed by 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564482/pdf/jcm-09-02836.pdf
Anxiety and Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Mutation Treated With S-Adenosyl Methionine and Methylated B Vitamins https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898281/pdf/48-52.pdf
Interaction between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and traumatic childhood events predicts depression https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-effects-of-childhood-maltreatment-and-the-MTHFR-genotype-and-their-interaction-on_tbl4_253648361
Interaction between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and traumatic childhood events predicts depression https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253648361_Interaction_between_the_MTHFR_C677T_polymorphism_and_traumatic_childhood_events_predicts_depression
Parents' emotional trauma may change their children's biology. Studies in mice show how https://www.science.org/content/article/parents-emotional-trauma-may-change-their-children-s-biology-studies-mice-show-how
Meditation-induced bloodborne factors as an adjuvant treatment to COVID-19 disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10432704/