Tags: choline | pregnancy | health

Egg Nutrient Found Beneficial for Health

Tuesday, 25 September 2012 12:47 PM

Pregnant women who consume greater amounts of choline – a beneficial nutrient found in eggs and meat – may lower their babies’ vulnerability to stress-related mental health problems and chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, later in life, researchers have found.
Nutrition scientists and obstetricians at Cornell University and the University of Rochester Medical Center found the nutrient may influence gene expression from infancy to adulthood and may be implicated in a wide range of disorders.
The findings, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, suggest that obstetricians may one day advise women to be sure they get plenty of choline in their diets during child-bearing years and in early pregnancy – as is now recommended for folic acid.
"The study is important because it shows that a relatively simple nutrient can have significant effects in prenatal life, and that these effects likely continue to have a long-lasting influence on adult life," said Dr. Eva K. Pressman, director of the high-risk pregnancy program at the University of Rochester. "While our results won't change practice at this point, the idea that maternal choline intake could essentially change fetal genetic expression into adulthood is quite novel."
Pressman and her colleagues studied 26 pregnant women and found higher-than-normal amounts of choline in the diet during pregnancy changed specific modifications in DNA that tell genes to switch on or off in a developing fetus, which can affect disease risks later in life. Researchers discovered those changes involved stress-related hormone regulation in the body that can affect metabolism.
More choline in the mother's diet led to less cortisol in the fetus. Past studies have shown early exposure to high levels of cortisol, often a result of a mother's anxiety or depression, can increase a baby's lifelong risk of stress-related and metabolic disorders.
The new study suggests choline may be used therapeutically in cases where mothers face unusual stress from anxiety, depression or other prenatal conditions, Pressman said.
Choline-rich foods include eggs, lean meat, beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
"One day we might prescribe choline in the same way we prescribe folate to all pregnant women," said Pressman. "It is cheap and has virtually no side effects at the doses provided in this study. In the future, we could use choline to do even more good than we are doing right now."

© HealthDay

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Pregnant women who consume greater amounts of choline lower their babies’ vulnerability to health problems.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 12:47 PM
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