Thought Experiment: Possible evolutionary advantages for EDS

This post will actually be an ongoing thought experiment. I will sidebar link it and note when it is updated. I look forward to your thoughts and comments as we muddle through this puzzle together.

This is to be a brainstorming/thought shaping experiment. You are free and encouraged to post counter arguments and thoughts, but not to call something silly or stupid. It is only by generating a dozen silly ideas that we come up with the one brilliant one that can change the world.


I believe that EDS is much more common and far from a rare disease. I have already written about some of the reasons why I think the numbers are off. Then there are other anecdotal things:

a) my mom’s rheumatologist telling her that “EDS is really fairly common, but we don’t call it that unless it is really bad or it freaks people out”.
b)The frequency that I see online forums for other disorders ( IBS, Dizzyness, hearing loss, etc..) where one person will say, “hey I was just diagnosed with EDS- anyone else out there?” and people come flocking out saying things like “My Dr told me I have BJHM, but not to the degree of EDS” or “I am double jointed and bruise easily, I have odd scars, but I don’t think I have EDS”, etc..  Really? This is rare??

If something is NOT rare, then it must in some way have some evolutionary advantage. ( Sickle cell disease in the haploid state protects against malaria, for example)

I think it is important to recognize that this  is a condition ( I am unwilling to call this a disease or an illness any more) with a spectrum of expression. Some people are mildly impacted, others are devastated. Is this difference genetic or epigenetic? If it is epigenetic, is it triggered by something in diet or lifestyle or something environmental. Can you impact it over the course of your life, or is it generational?  Until we ( and the scientists) understand the real prevalence and spectrum of the expression of the gene, we can not even ask the right questions, much less have a chance at finding effective treatments or lifestyle changes. Just like there are many shades of blonde, I believe there are many states of EDS.

So- what are the possible positive things about having really stretchy, bendable collagen? ( remember some of these are silly- we are brainstorming)

1) We get strong quickly. It may be impossible to maintain that muscle tone without constant exercise, but in an environment where humans worked or moved constantly, long periods of inactivity were never an issue. Certainly being able to gain strength and get really strong were advantages for multiple reasons.

2) babies who crawl late are less likely to crawl off and get eaten ( 😉 )

3) when you can open your mouth very wide, you can take bigger bites, getting more than your fair share

4) having a GI track that reacts to bulky, fibrous foods by expanding and slowing down allows you to absorb more nutrients from the difficult to digest plant material

5) Being overly anxious by today’s standards might have been someone who was very vigilant and less likely to get eaten or taken down by an enemy ( especially if they were near sighted)

what do you think? I have not even gotten to a baker’s dozen ideas yet- there must be many more. Please leave your thoughts, new ideas or counter arguments in  the comments below.


1 thought on “Thought Experiment: Possible evolutionary advantages for EDS

  1. very interesting. I was an early walker around 10 months did it once and decided it wasn't for me! LOL started again on my first birthday, Ive always had a sense of occasion.Ive always noticed I build muscles fast, but I have always had weak arms no matter how hard I tried.Do you have the velvety, translucent skin? Im pretty sure after doing my own house thing that I have hypermobility EDS, but I want vascular ruled out due to family history of aneurysms.I also think its massively under diagnosed.Your blog is extremely interesting.ThanksRach

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