Children whose mothers had anxiety and depression during pregnancy may have an increased risk of developing asthma at 10 years of age, according to a new prospective cohort study of over 4000 children. Results showed a 46-91% increased risk of asthma and lower lung function in children whose mothers experienced stress or depression while pregnant. Paternal stress was not associated with risk of asthma in children. The study authors suggest that excess production of glucocorticoids in pregnant women experiencing depression or stress can overstimulate the fetal hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and disrupt fetal development. Glucocorticoid-regulated genes are key to fetal lung development and an alteration in the process can contribute to impaired lung function.
In our clinic, we’ve focused on how various factors, including stress, affect epigenetics. Our Methylation, Diet and Lifestyle eBook was designed specifically to support healthy epigenetic expression using methyl donor foods, methylation adaptogens, and lifestyle support to address the state of chronic stress we see in our patients.