PRECONCEPTION

Programming Your Child’s Future Health Through Nutrition

By: Brightest Editors

September 28, 2016

What if you could program the future of your child’s health as simply as you program your alarm clock? Push a button, choose a selected wake up time, click and you’re done. It’s not quite that simple, but we know that what a woman eats just before and during pregnancy will impact the health of her child for the rest of his or her life. It’s an area of research called prenatal programming.

The concept of prenatal programming theorizes that during fetal development poor intake of one or more essential nutrients during critical periods in an organ’s growth can potentially alter or program the structure, size or function of that organ for the rest of the child’s life. The developing baby will attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the womb, but that compensation can carry a price later in life.

Today, women who are pregnant have the option to supplement their diets with prenatal vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

According to the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study (PMNS) by Yajnik, et al., a mother’s diet rich in vitamin B12 has been found to correlate to a lower risk for insulin resistance in her child later in life. Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of blood cells, nerve sheaths and various proteins, and is also necessary for growth. Sources of B12 include meat, eggs, fish and milk products.

Vitamin C status has been shown to lower oxidative damage to fetal tissues and lower the risk for heart problems later in life. Stock your fruit and vegetable basket with popular food sources of vitamin C, including citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, spinach and tomatoes.

According to a study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health by Kaludjerovic, et al.there is emerging evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including rickets, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Type 1 diabetes and cancer. You can find a moderate dose multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that includes vitamin D and is formulated for the needs of women who are pregnant.

DHA omega-3 is an important building block of a baby’s brain. In fact, 97 percent of the omega-3s found in the brain is DHA. Primary sources of DHA include fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon) and a vegetarian and sustainable source of DHA from algae can be found in foods, beverages and supplements on store shelves.

Children born of mothers with low folate status during pregnancy were 57 percent more likely to have emotional problems later in life, according to a study by Steenweg-de Graaf, et al. published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Increase your folate or folic acid intake by eating dark leafy greens or supplementing with 600-800 micrograms of folic acid daily.

It is important to talk with your doctor before starting any supplement program.

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