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Pre-conceptional care/nutrition to battle cancer risk

Posted:  Friday, June 19, 2015

Now it’s not just the parents DNA that affects the child but also the mother’s diet around the time of conception! Throwing light on the significance of good preconception nutrition, scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have obtained substantial proof that a woman’s diet during conception bears long-term health impact on the offspring.

The study published in the journal Genome implicates the VTRNA2-1 gene. Researchers found this gene to be a tumour suppressor gene that can be influenced by the dietary intake of the mother during the initial days of pregnancy. This gene can undergo modifications in the event of poor preconception nutrition. Ensuring adequate nutrition at the time on conception can prevent adverse effects on the offspring’s immunity and ensures reduction in the risk for cancer in the long run.

Poor maternal nutrition around the time of conception can dent the offspring’s genome leading to negative consequences such as low birth weight infants, premature births, brain defects and poor obstetric outcomes. The researchers hope to spot the precise nutrient combination required to ensure better health and risk reduction for unborn children.

Commenting on the study findings on the importance of adolescent girls’ nutritional status for good future health, Martin Bloem, senior nutrition adviser, World Food Programme said, “Before, everyone understood that nutrition could change the expression of genetics, but this study is the next step. It shows that adolescent girls’ nutritional status determines their future health. It is therefore critical that even in our humanitarian response, we focus on improving their nutrition to impact future generations, and it should be part of the 2015 goals.”

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