Here are the results of a new study that relates to prenatal choline (choline taken during pregnancy) and increased health of the baby long term.
Research links diet
during pregnancy to breast cancer risk reduction in female offspring
Era of Hope
conference to feature compelling research examining benefits to daughters based
on mother's diet
ORLANDO, Fla. -- August 3, 2011 -- During pregnancy, women are counseled to
refrain from consuming certain types of foods, beverages and medications in
order to avoid jeopardizing the health and development of the fetus. In fact,
Pregnancy Association has a list of a dozen items they recommend expectant
mothers omit from their diets. However, there are some additions, such as folic
acid, that, when taken before and/or during pregnancy, can actually reduce the
risk of birth defects and other disorders.1 Research presented today
at the Era of Hope conference, a scientific meeting hosted by the Department of
Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), reveals findings suggesting that
if an expectant mother increases her consumption of foods high in certain fatty
acids or nutrients during her pregnancy, she can potentially reduce the risk of
breast cancer in her female offspring.
The research delves into breast cancer risk reductions attributed to the
fetus when the mother, while pregnant, increases omega 3 fatty acids within her
diet or consumes dietary methyl nutrients (methionine, choline, folate and
vitamin B12). Some findings hypothesize that these diet augmentations may even
prevent breast cancer from ever developing in the offspring.
"This is exciting and intriguing research," said Captain Melissa
Kaime, M.D., Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs
(CDMRP), under which the BCRP is managed. "To be able to reduce the risk
and possibly prevent this devastating disease before birth is an incredible
notion; the BCRP is proud to support research with such potential."
Maternal Consumption of Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Principal Investigator: Philippe T. Georgel, PhD, Marshall University
Maternal dietary alterations, including increasing the consumption of omega
3 fatty acids, may reduce the risk of breast cancer to the fetus by causing epigenetic
changes in utero and later through nursing. These changes may alter gene
expression permanently, a change referred to as imprinting. Researchers at
Marshall University conducted a study to investigate whether having a diet rich
in omega 3s while pregnant would result in changes to fetal mammary gland gene
expression, thereby reducing the chance that female offspring would later
develop breast cancer.
In this study, there was a reduced incidence of mammary gland cancer
observed for the offspring of mice that, while pregnant and nursing, consumed a
diet containing canola oil, rich in omega 3, compared with the offspring of
mice that, while pregnant and nursing, consumed a diet containing corn oil rich
in omega 6 fatty acids. Reviewing the gene expression profiles of both groups
showed that many genes related to cancer development differed between the two
groups. Significant differences in the patterns of two important epigenetic
markers were also observed.
"Pregnant women should be mindful of what they consume since their diet
may incite epigenetic changes that could impact the development of their
offspring, not just in utero but also for time to come," said Dr. Philippe
Georgel, Marshall University. "Additional research continues, as we seek
to elucidate the effect of diet on breast cancer-specific gene
In Utero Exposure to Dietary Methyl Nutrients and Breast Cancer Risk in
Principal Investigator: Chung S. Park PhD, North Dakota State University
Links are being drawn to complete mammary gland development of the mother
during pregnancy and reduction in breast cancer risk in her daughters.
Supplementing the mother's diet with lipotropic nutrients (methionine, choline,
folate and vitamin B12) is thought to increase methyl metabolism which
stimulates the full development of the mammary gland, thereby inducing an
epigenetic imprint in the mammary gland of the fetus and decreasing its breast
cancer risk. Investigators at North Dakota State University are researching
this link with the overall objective of determining the extent to which
supplementing diets with methyl nutrients during pregnancy reduces the
offspring's overall breast cancer susceptibility.
The study looked at 45 pregnant rats and randomized them into two groups:
one to receive a control and the other to be fed a methyl-supplemented diet.
Once the pups were born, they were separated into three additional groups
depending on the feeding regime of their mother. When the female pups reached a
specific age, they were exposed to a chemical that induced breast cancer and
researchers charted when the first tumor appeared and measured all tumor sizes
and volumes. Results demonstrated that the offspring from the
methyl-supplemented diet group showed a decrease in tumor incidence and growth
when compared to the control group. Also, they had fewer tumors and fewer
tumors that multiplied.
"The conclusions of this study suggest that we may be able to prevent
the development of breast cancer in daughters of women at risk for breast cancer
by supplementing the mother's diet during pregnancy," said Dr. Chung Park,
North Dakota State University. "We look forward to exploring this study
further to strengthen the implications of these initial findings."
About the Era of Hope
The Era of Hope (EOH) conference joins scientists, clinicians and breast
cancer advocates committed to advancing research on the prevention, detection,
diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. From August 2-5, 2011 in Orlando,
Florida, the EOH will feature prominent scientists and clinicians with
presentations of recent remarkable advances in breast cancer research funded by
the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP). This research
challenges paradigms and pushes boundaries to identify innovative, high-impact
approaches for future breast cancer research and discoveries.