"This stuff sets me on fire. I think herein lies the secrets to both imprinting and therapy. My take is probably from a little different direction that anybody else’s, but I really need to get it out where it can be seen with critical eyes.
First of all I think imprinting is an epigenetic process that involves methylation and histone modifications. This process is responsible for a variety of diseases: cancer, fragile X syndrome, mental retardation, angelman’s syndrome, and mental illness. But they don’t say what causes the process to begin with. (at least I haven’t found it) The article you sent also states that the methylation process plays a role in gene expression. So this could include hormone set points, cortisol production and the like.
I think your research has pretty well supported the fact that almost all emotional illness can be traced to the imprint, indicating that trauma can selectively initiate the methylation process. It has also demonstrated that dysregulated systems can reregulate. Also, the Phillips article states:In most cases, methylation of DNA is a fairly long-term, stable conversion, but in some cases, such as in germ cells, when silencing of imprinted genes must be reversed, demethylation can take place to allow for "epigenetic reprogramming." Perhaps germ cells are not exclusive in this. And this is where it interests me, because I think that Primal Therapy also does that.
I’ve long felt that not enough attention is given to the physiology of crying. (Even Frye’s work is meager). But this is a powerful apparatus in humans, and we’re the only animal that has it. I now think that crying is a demethylation system or something close. I use the metaphor of the water hose: Say it’s crying or a demethylation tool and your dirty car is that way from methylation wrought by trauma. You can stand out there swing that hose around all you want, but your car won’t get clean. (and that’s what happens in mock primal therapies.) You have to help clear the way for the hose to address every aspect of the car in order to wash it properly. That’s what Primal therapy does. We start with a feeling and help the patient stay with it to track it down to 1st line. I know that nothing therapeutic happens without crying. (at least for me) Even tho crying is not involved in 1st line, it is what takes us there.
For me this also explains why we must relive the entire experience. That is, activate every aspect of our system involved in the trauma. And it is only with thorough demethylation of the entire imprint that gives rise to the defense that we can have “epigenetic reprogramming” to normalize the system.
Here is also a little article I found linking adrenal fatigue and DNA methylation.
Because cortisol plays such a big role in neurosis, I thought this might trigger some worthwhile thoughts. For me it confirms the notion of the connection between methylation and stress or trauma, even tho I’m not sure of how it works."
The Link Between Adrenal Fatigue and DNA Methylation
Published: Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients - May 2005
Adrenal function is vital to life: without cortisol we die. This fact has been known since the 1930s when it was described by Banting and Best. Glucocorticords are essential for maintaining carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. They also have a permissive effect which allows for glucagon and catecholamines to work. Important glucocorticoid effects include the normal functioning of the nervous system, water metabolism, vascular reactivity, regulation of circulating lymphocytes and the immune system and resistance to stress. Complete lack ofadrenal function is a disease state known as Addison's Disease. It is an autoimmune disease usually, caused by antibodies that attack the adrenal gland. Conventional medicine only recognizes two states: you either make cortisol or you don't. Allopathic physicians are unaware of the decline in adrenal function as illness becomes chronic.
The etiology is adrenal fatigue begins with a stressor or in functional medicine terms a trigger. Triggers fall into several categories: psychosocial stress, environmental toxins (radon, mercury, mold), infectious organisms (fungal, bacterial, parasitic), food allergies (wheat, corn, sugar, milk), and other toxins (alcohol, drugs, prescription medications) to name a few. In addition, stressful events such as surgery or car accidents place a huge (usually unrecognized) load on the adrenal glands. The initial response to each of the above events is to elevate cortisol levels to help cope with the stress. However, over time, the adrenals become weakened and lose their circadian rhythm. This is due in large part to poor nutrition. All stressful events require increased amounts of several nutrients: vitamin C, pantothenic acid, B6 (pyridoxine), B12(methylcobalamin), and folate. Interestingly, if the adrenal glands are catheterized and a stressor is introduced, the first chemical to leave the adrenals is not cortisol as one would suspect, but large amounts of vitamin C. These nutrients are severely lacking in the typical American diet or are not found in high enough amounts. More often than not "orthomolecular" dosing is necessary to correct the deficits.
The initial response to any stress is the hypersecretion of cortisol, but over time (approximately one year) there develops a negative feedback and a genuine "fatigue" causing reduced levels of DHEA-S and cortisol . The end result is an organism with reduced immunity, increased likelihood of autoimmune disease, heart attacks, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, skin disorders, carbohydrate cravings, protein wasting, fatigue and depression (to name but a few). Physicians normally view these as separate events in a given organ and do not see that the symptoms represent a disease process (inflammation) that may occur in one or more organs simultaneously. Therefore everyone with any chronic disease, not just cardiovascular disease, should be screened using DHEA-S and a homocysteine level. As DHEA-S decreases, the level of homocysteine rises, with a concomitant decrease in most B-vitamins, but especially folate and B12. The currently accepted norms for these parameters are too permissive, reminiscent of glucose control in years gone by. All of our organs are linked and nothing that happens is random. We are all the result of our genetic interaction with our environment.
With the establishment of "disease" another pivotal biochemical event happens: abnornal methyl groups nosedives as well. These patients may then present with symptoms of depression (inability to synthesize S-adenosylmethionine), joint pain (inability to make methylsulfonylmethionine), to name a few. Not only does teh abiltiy to convert to a methylated product is also compromised. For example, in chronically ill individuals the sue of B12 - as either the cyanocobalamin or the hydroxocobalamin form seems to do little to improve fatigue or mental functioning. The ideal compound to replenish B12 is methylcobalamin - the only active form. In each case, oral supplementation with the missing methyl-containing substrate ameliorates and symptoms. In each of the scenarios listed, the severity of the illness correlates with the level of the reduced or deficient DHEA-S and the concomitant elevated homocysteine level. The elevated homocysteine level is not only a marker for inflammation, but it is a marker for deficient B vitamins as well. The stage is now set for abnormal DNA methylation and the induction of cancer.
Efforts to repair adrenal fatigure include nutrients (in their most active form), glandular preparations, DHEA (and in severe cases cortisol itself), and lifestyle modifications with removal of triggers. Even with these measures, expect adrenal recovery to take 3 to 5 years.
Susan Solomon, MD