Is Reflux Genetic?

Genetics and Reflux, Colic


The first two elements in the reflux equation are genetics—those of both biological mother and father.

If you don't know already, then reflux is a symptom.

And as such, it has a cause.


So, how do genetics play their part?

From a gene point of view, the most interesting one is the MTHFR (no - not shorthand for mother-f****r, although it can be cathartic to shout it out loud now and again!).

Really, simply put, this gene governs things that run down the midline of the body - the neural tube. So things like spinal development. Importantly, for babies with reflux, it is within the expression of this gene that we find lip and tongue ties.

So if the father or mother’s mum has a tie, then the chances of the baby having a tie are increased by 30%. And tongue ties cause latch difficulties for baby, so are really important to get resolved if present.


There are some other genetic factors that can contribute to reflux:

  • Cleft lip and or cleft palate - as these pose challenges for babies to latch to either bottle or breast, again causing air to be swallowed and reflux to be an issue.

  • Congenital Lactase Deficiency - this is a genetic disorder where a baby lacks the ability to produce lactase, and so cannot break down the lactase in any milk - mums or others. It is important to distinguish between this and the general term “lactose intolerance” because, in the second case, the baby is able to digest mum's milk but not the more complex beta-lactose in cow's milk. Because not all lactose is the same.

  • Galatosaemia - this is an extremely rare condition that is typically picked up within hours of birth. Babies with this have an inability to break down the galactose in milk and need extremely modified milk to survive.

That something is “genetic” does not mean that we have to put up with it. It doesn’t mean that we cannot change it. In fact, in most cases, we can influence it massively.

With lip and tongue ties, we can cut them, and it is really important that your kids and their kids know they had a tie cut...

Because genetics are only 20% of it.

Epigenetics is over 80%. And this is good news. This means that we have more chance of influencing how the genes are expressed by influencing their environment.... and this is a lot about food choices and our environment.


How can I help?

All you need to know to figure out what’s causing your baby’s discomfort and pain can be found here, along with what to do to try and improve or even resolve your baby’s reflux, depending on the cause of the individual baby’s trouble.

In the 'Reflux Free Baby' Workshop, I walk you through all the symptoms you need to observe and record for your baby, what they mean, and how to use them as clues. The course is suitable for both bottle-feeding and breastfed babies who are suffering from baby reflux.

I tell you what the clues mean individually and when they occur with other groups of symptoms. 

And this leads us to be able to say what is causing each baby's reflux with much more confidence. 

Based on this, I tell you what specific action to take for them.

To get your baby free from their reflux as quickly as possible, sign-up now. You will have your answer within an hour.


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