A discussion was started recently on an online discussion forum on the topic of miscarriage of an expected IVF baby. I made the comment that sometimes, when the conditions of existence are not met for the proper creation of a progeny, nature usually sees to it that these efforts do not come to fruition. I also suggested that the general cellular states of either mother or father were likely a reason that natural conception was not taking place, and that going into IVF in these states and “forcing the issue” may not be a good idea if the intended result is a healthy baby, epigenetically speaking. This appeared to have been a rather unpopular statement with some members of the forum, and understandably so, for the urge to reproduce is innate and can be taken as our birthright. As such many emotions are attached to the subject. I maintained that it is important to look at the facts with honesty, and stack it against the rising rates of infantile health issues such as autism, infantile hypothyroidism and infantile allergy or food intolerance.
One in six couples in Australia and New Zealand suffer from the burden of infertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to achieve conception after a year of unprotected intercourse, or the inability to carry pregnancies through to a live birth.
In the USA, more American women have had medical help to have their babies than ever, according to the recent annual reports from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. The number of IVF cycles performed each year has increased steadily since 1991, and 2015 is looking as if it may be the year with the highest percentage of babies born through IVF than ever reported previously.
That upward trend is the opposite of American birth rates overall. Since 2007, the American birth rate has been declining steadily.
The question must be asked, what are the changes to our conditions of existence that are resulting in this massive shift in fertility rates in our modern world? What might be the epigenetic manifestations of a pregnancy resulting from two parents who are sub-optimal at the cellular level in their own health? We all learn in early school years that two negatives don’t make a positive, yet we let our emotions insist to us that our human condition is somehow immune to this simple math.
It seems appropriate that the first place we should look for problems with fecundity is at the hypothalamic level in the brain, as the master controller, specifically the leptin receptor. Leptin is the master hormone and scorekeeper for the energy status of every cell in the body. It is a hormone whos signalling in the brain is critical to the status of all downstream hormones, as well as sperm count and oocyte selection. Leptin signalling happens to be under the control of correct yoking of the circadian cycles, and melatonin is the middle man.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. Exposure to darkness stimulates its release and the presence of melatonin in the system helps to induce the sleep process.
In women who are trying to conceive, melatonin helps to protect eggs from damage, especially during ovulation.
Around midnight when we are approaching peak melatonin secretion, leptin enters the hypothalamus. It is at this stage that there is a release of prolactin, an incredibly important hormone. A deficiency in prolactin (often found in post-menopausal women) can cause a decline in brain activity, propensity to gain weight, and high levels of inflammatory cytokine molecules associated with lack of recovery and chronic pain. Balanced prolactin levels however increase the recycling of cells, the renewal of cells, and the creation of new cells (autophagy and cellular and mitochondrial biogenesis), and also increases growth hormone release.
Low levels of prolactin = low levels of growth hormone, and this can result in low levels of another very important hormone called DHEA. Adequate levels of DHEA and growth hormone are what maintains a woman’s reproductive cycle – without adequate levels of these hormones the pattern we see in a woman is that they go into menopause early, or become infertile. Growth hormone would also seem to be pretty crucial to GROWING a child…
One quickly begins to see how an inability of melatonin to enter the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and thus an inability of leptin to enter the hypothalamus can create many downstream issues that have some serious implications for reproduction.
In women who are already pregnant, interference with melatonin levels can also mess with the unborn child. If the fetus does not get the proper amount of melatonin from their mother, their biological clock can also become confused. This has been linked to behavioral problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism in young children.
45-48% of the human brain is wired to light circuits. These circuits are the critical pathways for circadian signaling of day and night. The hypothalamus is also in control of accounting for energy by accounting for electrons from food via leptin as discussed earlier. The hypothalamus thus integrates and yokes light and metabolism using this information. A child may begin life on the wrong clock so to speak, if things are awry in the pathways of the parents. A circadian mismatch in a mother or father trying to conceive can therefore have devastating effects on energy metastability, and this is most worrying in the maternal system, as the child receives all of its mitochondrial DNA from the mother.
Assuming no exposure to high levels of artificial light from television, movie screens, computer screens, phones, e-readers and bright household light, however, everything should be working just fine. That might just be a the problem in the modern world.
The genome codes for proteins and enzymes. As evolution has progressed, we have added generations of control systems to control these proteins’ behavior, which are based around the ability to move energy into newly evolved systems via selection pressures all dictated by epigenetics. Epigenetic expression is determined ultimately by energy dynamics in cells.
The ability of environmental factors to promote a phenotype or disease state not only in the individual exposed but also in subsequent progeny for multiple generations is termed transgenerational inheritance. The majority of environmental factors such as poor nutrition or toxicants such as endocrine disruptors do not promote genetic mutations or alterations in the DNA sequence. In contrast, these factors have the capacity to alter the epigenome by pre-loading the fetal system with information, most likely via alterations in the redox potential of the carrying mother.
The term redox potential is synonymous with the amount of charge across mitochondrial membranes system-wide, or the total energy potential, and this is signalled to the brain directly via the density of water in the CSF through the collagen/water “power grid” as well as via leptin signalling when circadian cycles are coupled.
The CSF is where our body’s DC current is generated, and it is insulated by its myelin casing, just as an electrical wire is insulated by its plastic coating. Iodine and ketosis are requirements for myelination of the CNS, and thus the insulation of the DC current, which Becker showed is the electrical force that regenerates all tissues in humans in autophagy during sleep.
Women have less myelin on their brains than men naturally by evolutionary design. Women also suffer more autoimmunity than men for this very reason. Having less myelin makes a woman more sensitive to environmental triggers in order to pass this information onto the next generation. This is the very basis of trans-generational epigenetics itself.
If women lose any significant degree of myelin for any reason, or they lose their DC current for any other reason (poor sleep, fake light/altered melatonin, poor nutrition,) their regenerative capacity gradually diminishes, and they are more apt to develop an autoimmune disease because they can not mount proper signaling in their thymus to properly develop their T Helper cells.
When the DC regenerative current in Schwann cells and the brain’s microglia and oligodendroglia are lost for any reason at all, one can not regenerate the normal arms of neuro immunity or of cellular immunity from your thymus gland where the T Helper cells go to mature.
This means T-Helper-3 cells cannot be activated, so T-Helper-17 cells begin to dominate. When these cells dominate for long enough, calcium leaves the pineal gland and circadian biology is altered further, thus, we lose the yoking of the Vitamin A and D cycle in the brain, and the result is a spike in NF kappa beta and IL- 6 in the brain and peripheral tissues. These are the main inflammatory cytokines in the brain. This causes further leptin resistance and system-wide energy crisis.
The result is that antibodies are made from constantly activated B cells as the T cells can not turn them off and they subsequently “tag” the different tissues subject to this energy loss.
When this happens in the thymus at a certain time of embryologic development, the result can be infantile hashimoto’s disease or celiac disease. If it occurs at after the 8th embryologic week of human development, it will affect the developing hindbrain and dentate nucleus in the cerebellum. This affects the posterior hindbrain, and the result can be autism and its spectrum disorders.
This is how epigenetics can go really wrong when the environment is altered drastically from its natural state to a man made one.
Let’s assume that this has been occurring for a long period of time in a woman who cannot conceive naturally. The woman may at this stage be depleted of DHEA, and likely adrenal output. Nature’s rules would deem this an inappropriate cellular situation for fostering new life, as energy status is barely sufficient for mother alone to remain healthy, let alone a tender embryo. The hormone cascade itself makes this clear, in that when cortisol is called for, it must take substrate (pregnenolone) away from production of progesterone in order for its own production.
IVF gives this mother a chance to dodge natures rules, and fertilise her egg in a lab. When this embryo is implanted back into the stressed environment of the mother’s uterus what might happen?
The mother with poor adrenal output starts to live off the fetal adrenal system as development continues. She may also start to “borrow” DHEA from the developing infant, the results of which can eventually be Infantile Adrenal Stress and Exhaustion, childhood immune alterations and intolerances. It may also set the stage for the transgenerational epigenetic triggering of early onset PCOS and endometriosis as the child develops with a DHEA or pregnenolone-steal pattern in their hormone cascade. This may also provide an epigenetic trigger for estrogen-based cancers of the epithelium, which seem to be showing up in record numbers in younger women.
IVF is a powerful scientific endeavour that has helped many families achieve what was seemingly unachievable for various reasons such loss of reproductive organs via surgery. When one is deemed infertile for no known reason, however, it seems sensible to look deeper into the reasons the hormone cascade may be altered.
When our views are from the vantage point of evolutionary biology and energetics, many of medicine’s “modern mysteries” become rather clear cut. Sometimes in order to move forward we need to look back, and pay honour to the deeper intelligences at play..