Here’s How Having Kids Reshapes Parents Immune Systems

posted: 02/16/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Young woman and man family couple indoors sick

When you are in the trenches of parenting, it helps to have a partner that is right there next to you to help with all the diaper changes, lack of sleep, and all the germs kids bring into your home. So if it seems like you are your partner are able to fight off the same stomach bug your child has or you have the same flu symptoms--even if his is the man flu--it might be that you are more alike than you realize. Having kids changes everything--it even changes you are your partner on a cellular level.

In a new study, researchers examined the composition of immune cells of couples raising children and found that through time, their cells begin changing and shifting to resemble their partner's cells. In fact, researchers found that eventually parents end up with more in common immunologically than identical twins. So after a years of raising kids and it seems like you are finishing each other's sentences and you always know what your partner wants for dinner, it's probably because you are slowly morphing into one person. OK, that's a bit dramatic but it's true that your immune cells are similar to your partners.

"You are completely changing the cells that constitute your immune system in a way as radical as changing your height," Adrian Liston, a researcher on the study tells the Huffington Post.

So why does this happen? Researchers feel it's because when couples live together, they usually have similar routines and lifestyles. Often if one partner works out the other will join, or the reverse, neither partner exercises. Usually partners have similar diets and are exposed to some of the same environmental toxins. Researchers found this is even more common when couples have children. So with such similar lifestyles, co-parents immune systems begin to shift and change and become identical.

So the next time you are feeling like you are coming down with a cold, you'd better grab some medicine for yourself and your partner because there's a good chance they are feeling the same way.