Depression Isn’t Genetic–It’s Epigenetic

Most of us have heard that depression is genetic…and therefore there isn’t much, if anything, that can be done about it.

For awhile now, scientists have been discovering epigenetics–which is the study of sections of DNA that tell a person’s genes “when and how strongly to express themselves.” (Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own, p. 38)  When I discovered this science a few years ago, I was fascinated because it clearly showed that there really was something I could do about the depression and anxiety I was struggling with.  I even wrote a research paper on the topic in 2014!

From Dr. Brogan:  “Like conductors of an orchestra, these epigenetic marks control not only your health and longevity, but also how you pass your genes on to future generations.  Indeed, the forces acting on the expression of your DNA today can be passed on to your future biological children, affecting how their genes behave in their lives and whether or not their children will face a higher risk of certain diseases and disorders, depression included.  But, by the same token, these marks can be changed to read differently, making it fully possible to reverse certain diseases…There are likely many windows during our lifetime when we are sensitive to environmental impacts that can change our biology and have major downstream effects such as symptoms of depression…

“We need to look at the body’s ecosystem: intestinal health, hormonal interactions, the immune system and autoimmune disorders, blood sugar balance, and toxicant exposure.  And we need natural, evidence-based alternative to psychiatric medications–treatments that target what’s really awry in our bodies.” (p. 38-39)

Perhaps your mental illness challenges were passed on to you through your ancestral lines and certain environmental factors have allowed it to show up in you. I invite you to consider that there is something you can do to not just overcome but to break the cycle in your family line.

It matters!

See also:  The Biology of Belief
The Brain Maker

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