Parenting Has a Powerful Effect, Rewires Parents' Immune System

By Maureen Bongat, Parent Herald March 03, 06:00 am

Every day parents face different challenges which could lead to stress, sleep deprivation and chronic infection. But a new study conducted by researchers from the UK and Belgium showed how raising a child can affect the body more than that.

"This is the first time anyone has looked at the immune profiles of two unrelated individuals in a close relationship," said co-lead researcher Adrian Liston from University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium.

"Since parenting is one of the most severe environmental challenges anyone willingly puts themselves through, it makes sense that it radically rewires the immune system- still, it was a surprise that having kids was a much more potent immune challenge than severe gastroenteritis," he added.

The study, posted in the journal Nature Immunology, was made possible by including 670 participants which range from ages two to 86 years. The research has lasted for almost three years where participants were observed by how obesity, gender, anxiety and depression created an impact on their immune system, as stated by Parents.  

Contrary to what it has been expected the results showed the difference between their ages has been the least factor which could influence the participant's immune system. As posted by i4u, the huge discovery has been on how co-parenting a child had a very powerful effect on the participants' immune system even much more than that of vaccines.

"That's at least something for prospective parents to consider. Tthe sleep deprivation, stress, chronic infections and all the other challenges of parenting does more to our body than just gives us grey hairs," Dr. Liston added. "I think that any parents of a nursery- or school-age child can appreciate the effect a child has on your immune system!" he added.

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