Do You Feel Healthier in the Summer? Maybe You Are
When you think about summer you might think about feeling healthier. What are the reasons that you might associate summer with being healthy?
Maybe you're thinking about:
- Being beside a pool or beach, taking in some vitamin D, or just enjoying the mood-boosting effects of the sun.
- Going on vacation because relaxation is one of the healthiest things we can do.
- Exercising more because we are walking, running, swimming, kayaking or any other exercise you can dream up.
- Eating healthier with all the fresh fruits and vegetables that show up everywhere!
These are all great reasons that people stay healthy during the summer. But medical research has actually found some interesting immune and cardiovascular benefits, too.
Heart-attack survivorship is higher in the summer months than in the winter months, according to a 2012 research study reported on the Huffington Post website. The study said that 26-36 percent of patients were more likely to die of from a heart attack, a stroke, heart failure or some other circulatory disease, in the winter.
Research has found that our gene expression does change with the seasons. This means your body is really changing with the seasons as well.
A new study published on research from the University of Cambridge linked the activity of the immune system with the season. The immune system activity is higher in the warmer months. It means that diseases that are moderated by the immune system like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can show improvement, or be less severe, during the summer months.
A second study published in the journal Nature Communications, looked at how genetic expression changed in different disease processes. Looking at the genetic expression gives us insight into human evolution process.
The study found that the genetic expression of many of our chronic diseases like heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis can be suppressed based on the season. They decided to focus on a specific sequence the anti-inflammatory circadian transcription factor that moderates the immune response.
These two studies are part of a field called epigenetics.
It is an important field because it allows us to understand how our environment can cause changes to our genetic expression during our lifetime.
Diabetes and a Treatment Option.
In simple terms, it tells us that our family history is not our only destiny. There are other factors that can determine the development of a disease, and how severe the disease becomes.
The studies show that the season — or more accurately the temperature — may impact the severity of diseases. There are other studies that are looking at how the foods we eat can change the course or our disease.
Epigenetics is an exciting field in medicine today.
For now we can say that during the warmer months we feel healthier and our genes are confirming that, too.