Suffering from stress' Blame your mum
What your mother ate'or didn't eat'may be partly responsible for your sickness from stress, a new research suggests.
The study revealed that choline intake that is higher than what is generally recommended during pregnancy may improve how a child responds to stress.
These improvements are the result of epigenetic changes that ultimately lead to lower cortisol levels. Epigenetic changes affect how a gene functions, even if the gene itself is not changed. Lowering cortisol is important as high levels of cortisol are linked to a wide range of problems ranging from mental health to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.
'We hope that our data will inform the development of choline intake recommendations for pregnant women that ensure optimal fetal development and reduce the risk of stress-related diseases throughout the life of the child,' said Marie A. Caudill, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Division of Nutritional Sciences and Genomics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
To make this discovery, Caudill and colleagues conducted a 12-week study involving pregnant women in their third trimester who consumed either the control diet providing 480 mg choline per day, a level that approximates current dietary recommendations, or the treatment diet which provided 930 mg choline per day.
Maternal blood, cord blood and placenta tissue were collected to measure the blood levels of cortisol, the expression levels of genes that regulate cortisol, and the number of methyl groups attached to the DNA of the cortisol regulating genes (the epigenetic changes).
Those from mothers who consumed the higher levels of choline showed reduced levels of cortisol.
The research appeared in the August 2012 issue of The FASEB Journal.