A healthy diet in infancy prevents metabolic alterations in offspring according to a study by CIBEROBN and the UIB

A healthy diet in infancy prevents metabolic alterations in offspring according to a study by CIBEROBN and the UIB

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Equipo del área de Obesidad y Nutrición del Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (CIBEROBN), con el profesor Andreu Palou, su responsable, en primera fila - Foto: A.Costa/UIB

A healthy diet during lactation prevents metabolic alterations in offspring according to a study by the Obesity and Nutrition team of the Center for Biomedical Research in Network (CIBEROBN) and scientists from the UIB published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

These results highlight that the recovery of a healthier maternal diet during lactation can prevent at least in part metabolic disorders in the offspring caused by poor diet and obesity during the prenatal stages.

The study has been carried out by the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology (Nutrigenomics, Biomarkers and Risk Assessment group, NuBE) of the UIB and the Health Research Institute of the Balearic Islands (IdISBa), in collaboration with the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

On an animal model, it has been shown that normalizing the maternal diet during lactation prevents the harmful effects of an obesogenic diet that before and during pregnancy exert on the lipidome or lipidomic profile (the set of hundreds of lipids) in breast milk and the plasma of the offspring.

These new insights show that restoring a healthier maternal diet during lactation can prevent, at least in part, metabolic disorders in the offspring caused by poor diet and obesity during the prenatal stages.

Previous intervention studies in animal models had shown that the intake of an obesogenic diet during the perinatal period affects the function of the mammary gland and, therefore, the composition of the milk, meaning that these alterations can be “programmed in the offspring”. ».

This programming leads to a greater propensity to develop chronic pathologies in adulthood. The researchers studied intervention strategies during the lactation period to prevent adverse effects caused by an unbalanced maternal diet during pregnancy, or even earlier.

To do this, they analyzed the lipidomic profile to determine the alterations in this profile that could be potentially involved with the offspring’s risk of developing diseases in later stages of life, also analyzing the lipid profile of the plasma of the offspring in the final stage of life. lactation.

The results of this study showed that maternal consumption of an obesogenic diet throughout the perinatal period (specifically, from one month before pregnancy and during pregnancy and lactation) causes a marked change in the lipid composition of milk and in the plasma of their young at an early age.

These alterations were largely reversed both in the milk of mothers who were fed a standard (balanced) diet during lactation, and in the plasma of their offspring. Reversal of these changes has been linked, at least in part, to recovery of hormone expression levels.

This is the hormone adiponectin in the mammary gland. These changes have also been related to the decrease in the expression of various proinflammatory factors. The authors of the study, led by Dr. Catalina Picó, are now studying how to extrapolate these results to humans.

In any case, they recommend extreme care in feeding during lactation, as a critical period in which it is possible to correct metabolic alterations in the offspring that may have been poorly programmed by previous periods of feeding or unhealthy lifestyles.

The CIBER Consortium (Biomedical Research Center Network, MP) depends on the Carlos III Health Institute -Ministry of Science and Innovation- and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition area (CIBEROBN) is made up of 33 national groups.

These working groups, of proven scientific excellence, focus their research work on the study of obesity, nutrition and physical exercise in order to generate useful knowledge for clinical practice, the food industry and society as a whole.

The groups also work on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the prevention of metabolic disorders, childhood and adolescent obesity and the relationship between obesity and cancer. One of these groups is the one that has developed this latest research work at the University of the Balearic Islands.

Bibliographic reference

Pedro Castillo, Ondrej Kuda, Jan Kopecky, Catalina Amadora Pomar, Andrés Palou, Mariona Palou, Catalina Picó. “Reverting to a zdravá diet during lactation normalizes maternal milk lipid content in diet-induced obese rats and prevents alterations in the plasma lipidome of the offspring”. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.202200204


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