A loving, supportive family can be enough to override a genetic vulnerability to depression, new research suggests.
Studies have found that people who carry a “short” version of the serotonin transporter gene — known as 5-HTTLPR — tend to be more susceptible to depression than people without this gene variant.
But the new findings, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, show that to be true only of gene carriers who grew up in a stressful home environment. In contrast, the investigators found that young adult gene carriers whose families were warm and supportive had a reduced risk of depression.
The findings point to the importance of nurture, and not only nature, in the development of depression, according to the study authors.
“A strong family life can be enough to reverse the effects of this risk factor,” said lead author Dr. Shelley E. Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
On the other hand, a dysfunctional family life may create the stress that sends genetically vulnerable people into depression, the study findings suggest.
Among study participants who said they grew up with a warm, nurturing family, carriers of two copies of the short gene variant had a lower risk of depression.
This suggests that the short form of 5-HTTLPR is “highly responsive to environmental influence,” the researchers point out.
Importantly, none of the study participants who grew up in dysfunctional families reported physical or sexual abuse. Instead, the problems were milder, including “moderate” degrees of conflict and unaffectionate or “distant” relationships among family members.
The implication is that even relatively mild family dysfunction can raise a vulnerable young person’s risk of depression.
Still, people with a family history of depression should know that “genes are not destiny,” according to the study authors. Having a “strong support system that can see you through the tough times,” Taylor said, may make the difference.
– Biological Psychiatry via UCLA
Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemecs comments on good early family life may counter depression gene.
Wonderful thing in this study was very simply they found that people could have the predisposition to depression in a genetic trait but they showed that it only manifested in the genes of those who grew up in a stressful home environment in contrast they found that they ones that grew up in warm and loving and supporting families had a reduced risk of depression. The beautiful thing of this was the importance of nurture and not only nature and development or depression. You can put this in development of all genetically related disease. So what is nurture and what is nature? Nurture is the environment that is made can actually change the manifestations of the genes and this is the new field of epigenetics that has emerged. “Epi” meaning above or beyond the genes. The something beyond the genes themselves is the environment the genes are put in that will determine their manifestation.
Nature on the other hand, is what you’re born with. That’s your blueprint, your genetic code, what you have. So, if heart disease runs in a family line, it does not mean that you have to end up with heart disease just because your father had it, your mother had it, your grandfather had, your brother and sisters have it. It means the genetic trait is there. But you can change the environment by living the 7 Basic Steps to Total Health everyday, each and every day of your life. You can go deeper and deeper into healing the root of these things and then you will fully see the power of nurture, which means changing the environment. Not only the mental/emotional environment which this study showed, but the physical environment. Eating pure food, drinking pure water, getting the right amount of exercise, getting the right amount of sleep, and making sure that you deep diaphragm breath.
Live a life of fasting and detoxification, prayer, meditation and stillness. All these things are on the nurture side and can change the environment that can actually heal and reverse the likelihood of disease and reverse the predisposition of this gene of heart disease from manifesting. So, very important to understand that the genes our not our destiny as the end of the article showed. I want to say that again, Genes our not our destiny. Your destiny is what is in your heart when you walk it out fully and you walk it out with perseverance, never quitting, stopping or giving up on what God has put into your heart. This is the key to total health, this is the key to living a total health lifestyle and being all that God has called you to be in body, mind and spirit.