Can your early life stresses affect your current health?

I came across the article at the end of this post this morning. It describes findings that early life stress has effects on overall health later in life. (Epigenetics looks at how our environment affects how our genes manifest in our bodies.) An epigenetic pathway related to early life stress was identified and could inhibited with positive effects in animal studies. 

I found it fascinating to see that there are physical ramifications to early childhood stress events later on in life. The implications regarding environment are powerful. 

This made me think of so much:

  • Immigrant children now separated from their parents being held in tents at the border…
  • Black children and the impact of systemic racism and associated violence…
  • Poor children and the impact of poverty…
  • Children brought up in unstable households and the impact of verbal and physical abuse…

The stresses we experience early on are transmitted generationally. This has been seen in genocide and famine survivors and their grandchildren. Genetic markers reflect past generational trauma.

I also thought about how at this point we may not have a medication to alter the epigenetic pathway, but we do have practices such as yoga and meditation that can alter these early life stress pathways.

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