The Long Term Health Consequences Of Deprived Prenatal Nutrition

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The long-term health consequences of deprived prenatal nutrition are a significant concern on a global scale. Nutrition, as an environmental factor, plays an important role in stimulating alterations in various epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone modifications. Specific dietary stressors can create epigenetic variations to the present lifetime but also to successive generations. Epidemiological and experimental studies highlight the association between adult health and early-life maternal nutritional stressors such as under-nutrition, malnutrition and over-nutrition. Gestational maternal nutrition is a critical intrauterine factor which changes offspring epigenome. Numerous animal and human model studies reveal that…show more content…
Pregnant mothers require greater energy inputs and when these requirements are sufficient because of poor diets, long-term diseases in offspring develop (Langley-Evans, 2006). Fetal developmental periods are critical to human life as a majority of the epigenetic programming events take place during this time. Maternal under-nutrition during critical periods (fetal programming) is an important predictor of obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes (Lakshmy, 2013). The underlying “fetal programming” hypothesis indicates that during critical periods of fetal development, changes in the prenatal environment cause the differential expression of genes affecting offspring phenotype later on (Lakshmy, 2013).The Barker’s Early Origins Hypothesis states that unfavourable fetal growth and poor nutrition may contribute to and increases risk of chronic disease because under-nutrition in prenatal environments alters the fetuses’ body structure, physiology and metabolism (Vaiserman, 2014). This concept is present in current North American populations with the growing obesity epidemic due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake during gestation. Understanding the epigenetic modulation of maternal nutrition on offspring health is essential as chronic disease rates are increasing in most of the developing and industrialized nations.
The knowledge accumulated through understanding this phenomenon may be important to
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