Posts Tagged ‘omega3’

Omega3 with levels 80% + active ingredients EPA/DHA show that healthy young adults can improve their working memory by omega3 supplementation

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have determined that healthy young adults ages 18-25 can improve their working memory even further by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Their findings have been published online in PLOS One.

“Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best,” said Bita Moghaddam, project investigator and professor of neuroscience. “We found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game.”

Led by Rajesh Narendarn, project principal investigator and associate professor of radiology, the Pitt research team sought healthy young men and women from all ethnicities to boost their Omega-3 intake with supplements for six months. They were monitored monthly through phone calls and outpatient procedures.

Before they began taking the supplements, all participants underwent positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, and their blood samples were analyzed. They were then asked to perform a working memory test in which they were shown a series of letters and numbers. The young adults had to keep track of what appeared one, two, and three times prior, known as a simple “n-back test.”

“What was particularly interesting about the presupplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma Omega-3,” said Moghaddam. “This means that the Omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory.”

After six months of taking a clinical grade Omega-3 supplement > 80% in active ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Administration—the participants were asked to complete this series of outpatient procedures again. It was during this last stage, during the working memory test and blood sampling, that the improved working memory of this population was revealed.

“So many of the previous studies have been done with the elderly or people with medical conditions, leaving this unique population of young adults unaddressed,” said Matthew Muldoon, project coinvestigator and associate professor of medicine at Pitt. “But what about our highest-functioning periods? Can we help the brain achieve its full potential by adapting our healthy behaviors in our young adult life? We found that we absolutely can.”

Although the effects of Omega-3s on young people were a focus, the Pitt team was also hoping to determine the brain mechanism associated with Omega-3 regulation. Previous rodent studies suggested that removing Omega-3 from the diet might reduce dopamine storage (the neurotransmitter associated with mood as well as working memory) and decrease density in the striatal vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 (commonly referred to as VMAT2, a protein associated with decision making). Therefore, the Pitt researchers posited that increasing VMAT2 protein was the mechanism of action that boosted cognitive performance. Unfortunately, PET imaging revealed this was not the case.

“It is really interesting that diets enriched with Omega-3 fatty acid can enhance cognition in highly functional young individuals,” said Narendarn. “Nevertheless, it was a bit disappointing that our imaging studies were unable to clarify the mechanisms by which it enhances working memory.”

Ongoing animal modeling studies in the Moghaddam lab indicate that brain mechanisms that are affected by Omega-3s may be differently influenced in adolescents and young adults than they are in older adults. With this in mind, the Pitt team will continue to evaluate the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in this younger population to find the mechanism that improves cognition.

Other Pitt researchers involved in the project include William G. Frankle, professor of psychiatry, and Neal S. Mason, research assistant professor of radiology.

The paper, “Improved Working Memory but No Effect on Striatal Vesicular Monoamine Transporter Type 2 after Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation” was published online Oct. 3 by PLOS One and supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

Research shows that omega3 fish oil less than 80% concentrate are not effective at reducing triglyceride levels

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

t research has shown that lower concentrates omega 3 fish oil are not effective especially at reducing triglyceride levels

A study conducted in Europe showed the following that in order for omega3 to be effective in this area it required a concentration of at least 80% and above – none of the products by Nordic Naturals fall into this category or indeed any of those listed on the spreadsheet . The study concluded that “low concentration makes fish oil products impreactical for therapeutic use ”

The study looked at the Omega-3 uptake of three different Omega-3 concentrations:
62% Omega-3 (often sold as ‘Triple Strength’)
80% Omega-3
85% Omega-3
They did not test the regular ‘drug store grade’ fish oil (30% Omega-3) because it was ‘impractical’ to expect anyone to take 10 pills a day.

Every patient in the study took 5,100 mg (5.1 grams) of Omega-3 per day. However the big differentiate was the concentration levels

62% Did Not lower triglycerides

80% Did lower triglycerides

85% Did lower triglycerides

- there is an argument that omega3 at 62% Omega-3 is not pharmaceutical grade , however 80% to 85% are indeed

What was shown when they evaluated the results of the study was the following

A
There was a significant increase in blood EPA omega3 levels just after 14 days

B

The concentration levels of EPA were highest in the group taking the 85% concentration – the levels were lower in 62% and 80% group

C

The were no differences in the levels of DHA omega3 levels across the 3 groups

D

The most important factor was that the 62% omega3 concentrate did NOT lower triglycerides only the 80% and 85% omega3 fish oil did

RESULT: Even though everyone took the same amount of Omega-3, the chart below shows that 80% and 85% oils were better ‘absorbed.’

This is why it’s critical to take omega3 products such as TakeOmega3 that provide at least 80% Omega-3 concentrations.TakeOmega3 has 990mg omega3 and is an with 85% EPA /DHA concentration
It is very important that most fish oil supplements marketed as pharmaceutical grade or triple strength are only 60% omega 3 concentration

RESULT: Percent change in Triglycerides after taking 62%, 80% and 85% Omega-3 fish oil.

‘Triple Strength’ Fish Oil reduced triglycerides by less than 5% after two weeks. 80% and 85% Omega-3 oils reduced triglycerides by about 20%.
Since the FDA and other agencies does not regulate the terms like ‘pharmaceutical grade,’or ‘Triple Strength,’ anyone can call their product anything they want.However to gain CPP certification a product must fully comply with the conditions as stated by the MHRA – TakeOmega3 offers the highest concentration EPA of any formulation and is certificated by the MHRA

The reason the low concentrates dont work specifically with regards triglyceride reduction is very simple – yes its 62% omega3 but its also almost 40% or one-third non omega3 fats – whereas any oil that is 85% EPA and DHA such as TakeOmega3 will also be 90% in total omega3 as a result there is liitle if any other fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are a poor substrate for synthesis for triglycerides and Omega-3 also inhibit enzyme, acyl CoA:1,2-diacylglycerol acyltransferase due to the natural affinity Omega-3 has for this enzyme.

Harvard Medical School. Charles Serhan, a Harvard Medical School expert on Omega-3:
“The kind of benefits seen in most of the clinical trials with Omega-3 generally have involved much higher doses than you see recommended on supplement labels.”

Wall Street Journal. “Fish-Oil Doses Can Be Hard To Swallow,” David Stipp in Wall Street Journal Special Report, January 8, 2008:
“In trials aimed at lowering triglycerides, patients took three grams of Omega-3 per day. You would have to pop a daily dozen of the typical Omega-3 capsules on the market to get that.”

Omega 3 pharmaceutical grade fish oil EPA reduces LDL cholesterol levels

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Omega 3 EPA reduces LDL cholesterol levels –

New clinical study results presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions show that the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), helped significantly reduce small dense LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

“This study suggests that supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acid EPA may present unique benefits for cardiovascular health,” said Sujata K. Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D., research associate with DuPont. “EPA was shown to have advantageous effects on several biomarkers, including LDL cholesterol, small dense LDL, and lp-PLA2.”

EPA is a long-chain fatty acid that is found primarily in cold water, fatty fish like sardines anchovies mackerel as well as some omega-3 fatty acid such as TakeOmega3 which has 750 mg EPA per capsule and is the highest grade omega 3 available in UK . A growing body of evidence suggests that EPA is the long-chain omega-3 that supports heart health.

The study, conducted by Cardiovascular Research Associates and sponsored by DuPont, was conducted among 110 healthy individuals comparing the effects of EPA supplements to DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) supplements on cardiovascular health. The participants were placed into four study groups and examined over a six week period. During that time, each group was monitored while taking: EPA 600 mg per day; EPA 1,800 mg per day; DHA 600 mg per day; and an olive oil placebo.

The study found that in the 1,800mg EPA group, there were significant reductions of 7 percent for small dense low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and 6 percent for lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (lp-PLA2). lp-PLA2 is an enzyme involved in vascular inflammation.

In contrast, the 600mg DHA group showed a significant increase in total small dense LDL cholesterol in both the fasting and fed state of 14.2 percent and 16.3 percent respectively.

The study results will be featured during the American Heart Association Conference poster session in Chicago

Omacor contains 375mg DHA just two capsules exceeds the 600mg DHA level that shows an increase in LDL C – on a 4 capsule per dose dose that would deliver 1500 mg of DHA which is more than double the dose that showed a 14.2 % and 16.3% increase in small dense LDL

Omega 3 fish oil supplementation slows growth of prostate cancer cells

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

A low-fat diet with fish oil supplements eaten for four to six weeks prior to prostate removal slowed down the growth of prostate cancer cells — the number of rapidly dividing cells in human prostate cancer tissue compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.

Done by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the short-term study also found that the men on the low-fat, fish oil supplement diet were able to change the composition of their cell membranes in both the healthy cells and the cancer cells in the prostate.

They had increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil in the cell membranes, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, though further studies are needed, said Dr. William Aronson, the study’s first author and a researcher with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study also found that blood obtained from patients after the low-fat, fish oil diet program slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube as compared to blood from men on the Western diet, which did not slow cancer growth.

“The finding that the low-fat, fish oil diet reduced the number of rapidly dividing cells in the prostate cancer tissue is important because the rate at which the cells are dividing can be predictive of future cancer progression,” Aronson said. “The lower the rate of proliferation, the lesser the chances that the cancer will spread outside the prostate, where it is much harder to treat.”

The study appeared in Cancer Prevention Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study, which evaluated blood samples before and after the diet commenced and examined tissue from the removed prostate, validated previous studies by Aronson and others done on cell lines and in animal models.

Aronson said the study using human blood and tissue also proved that the changes prompted by what the men were eating were clearly evident in their prostate tissue – the “treatment” was indeed reaching the targeted organ because of the changes in the prostate cell membrane’s fatty acid composition.

“You truly are what you eat,” said Aronson, a clinical professor of urology, who also serves as chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “Based on our animal studies, we were hopeful that we would see the same effects in humans. We are extremely pleased about our findings, which suggest that by altering the diet, we may favorable affect the biology of prostate cancer.”

Aronson measured proliferation, or the rate of prostate cancer cell division, by staining tissue obtained from the radical prostatectomy specimens with an antibody against Ki-67, a protein involved in the cell-cycle progression and growth.

“The percentage of prostate cancer cells that stained for Ki-67 was determined by the pathologist, and this gave us an objective measurement of the percentage of cells that were actively dividing and therefore more aggressive,” said Aronson. “Previous studies found that patients with higher levels of Ki-67 in their prostate cancer tissue were more likely to have their prostate cancer progress to advanced stages, and were more likely to die from their prostate cancer. Thus, we are extremely encouraged by our findings that a low-fat diet with fish oil lowered Ki-67 levels and may have the potential to slow the progression of prostate cancer.”

Diet studies often are difficult to evaluate because getting patients to comply with dietary changes can be challenging. However, the food eaten by men in both arms of this study was precisely controlled, Aronson said.

The meals were prepared by chefs in the UCLA Clinical Translational Research Center and delivered in bulk to study participants several times a week. Participants also met with a dietician, kept food diaries and were required to return uneaten food.

“The key to this study was having the meals prepared and delivered to the study participants,” Aronson said. “This resulted in a very high rate of compliance, making the study very well controlled.”

The Western diet consisted of 40 percent of calories from fat, generally equivalent to what many Americans consume today. The fat sources also were typical of the American diet, and included high levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and low levels of fish oil that provide omega-3 fatty acids.

The low-fat diet consisted of 15 percent of calories from fat. Additionally, the men on this diet took five grams of fish oil per day in five capsules, three with breakfast and two with dinner, to provide fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce the incidence of heart disease and fight inflammation, and inflammation has been associated with certain cancers.

“Preclinical studies suggest that lowering dietary omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and increasing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases the risk of prostate cancer development and progression,” the study states. “We found this diet intervention resulted in a decrease in omega-6 vs. omega-3 fatty acid ratios in benign and malignant prostate tissue and a decrease in malignant cell proliferation.”

Aronson cautioned that he could not recommend dietary changes based on this study because of its short duration and small sample size. However, based on these results he is organizing a much larger study of 100 men with prostate cancers who have elected active surveillance, meaning they’re not getting any treatment for their disease but are getting regular biopsies and check-ups.

The future study will randomly divide the men into a low-fat, fish oil supplement group and a traditional Western diet group and follow them for a year to evaluate the diet effects on prostate cancer proliferation.

Supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cardiovascular reactivity to stress.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Preliminary evidence that acute long-chain omega-3 supplementation reduces cardiovascular reactivity to mental stress: A randomized and placebo controlled trial.
Ginty AT, Conklin SM.
Source
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, USA.
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
Exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Some evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids improve cardiovascular function. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of an acute low dose of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids on young, healthy individuals.

METHODS:
Participants (n=34) were randomly assigned to either 21-days of omega-3 fatty acids (1.4g EPA and DHA) or matched placebo. Cardiovascular measurements were obtained in the laboratory during baseline and during a standard mental arithmetic task, where participants were instructed to engage in serial subtractions by 17s from a four-digit number and cardiovascular reactivity to the task was calculated.

RESULTS:
Mean arterial pressure reactivity was significantly reduced by supplementation (F(1,32)=5. 12, p=.03, η(2)=.144) but not by placebo.

CONCLUSION:
Supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cardiovascular reactivity to stress.

Low plasma levels of Omega3 essential fatty acid EPA are associated with bipolar disorder

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Low plasma levels of EPA are associated with bipolar disorder
Sublette M, Bosetti F, DeMar J, et al. Plasma free polyunsaturated fatty acid levels are associated with symptom severity in acute mania. Bipolar Disorder / Manic Depression
OBJECTIVES: Nutritionally essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been implicated as potentially important factors in mood disorders. For instance, n-3 PUFA supplementation is reported to improve outcomes in major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. However, the role of PUFAs in acute mania has been minimally investigated. We performed a pilot study to compare plasma levels of free (non-esterified) and esterified PUFAs between patients in an acute manic episode and healthy volunteers, and to explore associations between symptom severity and levels of fatty acids and of the arachidonic acid metabolite, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).

METHODS: Patients (n=10) who were medication-free for at least two weeks and seeking inpatient admission for an acute manic episode were compared with healthy volunteers (n=10). Symptom severity was assessed at admission and after six weeks of naturalistic treatment. Fasting baseline free and esterified plasma levels of docosahexaneoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), arachidonic acid (AA,20:4n-6) and the AA metabolite PGE2 were determined, and PGE2 levels were tested again at six weeks.

RESULTS: No between-group differences were found in levels of individual or total fatty acids, or of PGE2. Among subjects, manic symptom severity correlated negatively with levels of free AA and free EPA, and positively with the free AA:EPA ratio. PGE2 levels did not differ between groups or in subjects pre- and post-treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results suggest that, in susceptible persons, low plasma levels of free EPA compared with AA are related to the severity of mania.

Supplementation with omega 3 fish oil increases first-line chemotherapy efficacy in patients

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

BACKGROUND:
Palliative chemotherapy is aimed at increasing survival and palliating symptoms. However, the response rate to first-line chemotherapy in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is less than 30%. Experimental studies have shown that supplementation with omega 3  fish oil (FO) can increase chemotherapy efficacy without negatively affecting nontarget tissue. This study evaluated whether the combination of omega3 and fish oil and chemotherapy (carboplatin with vinorelbine or gemcitabine) provided a benefit over standard of care (SOC) on response rate and clinical benefit from chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC.

METHODS:
Forty-six patients completed the study, n = 31 in the SOC group and n = 15 in the Omega 3 Fish oil  group (2.5 g EPA + DHA/day). Response to chemotherapy was determined by clinical examination and imaging. Response rate was defined as the sum of complete response plus partial response, and clinical benefit was defined as the sum of complete response, partial response, and stable disease divided by the number of patients. Toxicities were graded by a nurse before each chemotherapy cycle. Survival was calculated 1 year after study enrollment.

RESULTS:
Patients in the omega 3 fish oil group had an increased response rate and greater clinical benefit compared with the SOC group (60.0% vs 25.8%, P = .008; 80.0% vs 41.9%, P = .02, respectively). The incidence of dose-limiting toxicity did not differ between groups (P = .46). One-year survival tended to be greater in the FO group (60.0% vs 38.7%; P = .15).

CONCLUSIONS:
Compared with SOC, supplementation with omega 3 fish oil  results in increased chemotherapy efficacy without affecting the toxicity profile and may contribute to increased survival. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.

Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society.

Omega 3 fish oil potential anti cancer linked with decrease in tumour formation.

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Suppressed liver tumorigenesis in fat-1 mice with elevated omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased omega-3 derived lipid mediators and reduced TNF-α.

Weylandt KH, Krause LF, Gomolka B, Chiu CY, Bilal S, Nadolny A, Waechter SF, Fischer A, Rothe M, Kang JX.
Source

Laboratory for Lipid Medicine and Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA. karsten.weylandt@charite.de
Abstract
Liver tumors, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The development of HCC is mostly associated with chronic inflammatory liver disease of various etiologies. Previous studies have shown that omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) dampen inflammation in the liver and decrease formation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. In this study, we used the fat-1 transgenic mouse model, which endogenously forms n-3 PUFA from n-6 PUFA to determine the effect of an increased n-3 PUFA tissue status on tumor formation in the diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver tumor model. Our results showed a decrease in tumor formation, in terms of size and number, in fat-1 mice compared with wild-type littermates. Plasma TNF-α levels and liver cyclooxygenase-2 expression were markedly lower in fat-1 mice. Furthermore, there was a decreased fibrotic activity in the livers of fat-1 mice. Lipidomics analyses of lipid mediators revealed significantly increased levels of the n-3 PUFA-derived 18-hydroxyeicosapentaenoic acid (18-HEPE) and 17-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid (17-HDHA) in the livers of fat-1 animals treated with DEN. In vitro experiments showed that 18-HEPE and 17-HDHA could effectively suppress lipopolysacharide-triggered TNF-α formation in a murine macrophage cell line. The results of this study provide evidence that an increased tissue status of n-3 PUFA suppresses liver tumorigenesis, probably through inhibiting liver inflammation. The findings also point to a potential anticancer role for the n-3 PUFA-derived lipid mediators 18-HEPE and 17-HDHA, which can downregulate the important proinflammatory and proproliferative factor TNF-α.

PMID: 21421544 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC3106436 [Available on 2012/6/1]

Omega 3 fish oil and benefits for athletes

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Omega 3 essential fatty acid EPA Reduces Inflammation
Athletes often undergo high-intensity training that increases inflammation and the risk for pain and injury. This can decrease exercise performance and the ability to recover properly. Omega-3 fatty acids fish oil specifically EPA iseffective in reducing inflammation. Researcher Dr. William Smith from the University of Massachusetts found that omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation by diminishing the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances associated with inflammation in the body. Omega 3 EPA is the most powerful natural anti inflammatory and unlike pharmaceutical anti inflammatory products there are no health risks or side effects when taking them .

Improves Body Composition
Athletes often focus on body composition, or fat to muscle ratio, in order to stay in top physical shape and maximize training and performance. In a study published in the October 2010 issue of the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,” Eric Noreen and colleagues found that participants taking fish oil for six weeks improved their body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing fat mass. Omega 3 specifically EPA offers better oxygen delivery during exercise and also is key in removing lactic acid from the body.

Poor diet during pregnancy increases offspring’s vulnerability to the effects of aging, new research has shown for the first time-Omega 3 are essential for healthy development

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

h, by scientists from the University of Cambridge, provides important insight into why children born to mothers who consumed an unhealthy diet during pregnancy have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (a significant contributing factor to heart disease and cancer) later in life. Low levels of essential fatty acids can have a major impact , the key omega 3 ’s EPA and DHA are essential as the body needs to take these from diet . Fears of heavy metal contamination are often linked to mothers not wishin to consume adequate levels of fish during pregnancy , the alternative is to take a daily high quality omega3 supplement that provides concentrated levels of EPA and DHA. TakeOmega3 is a true one per day capsule and gives a minimum of 750mg EPA and 50 mg DHA per capsule .Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are linked to lower incidence of heart disease , protection against risk of Cancer , lower incidence and preventio of type 2 diabetes
“What is most exciting about these findings is that we are now starting to really understand how nutrition during the first nine months of life spent in the womb shape our long term health by influencing how the cells in our body age,” said Dr Susan Ozanne, the senior author on the paper and British Heart Foundation Senior Fellow from the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge.
It is well established that environmental factors interact with genes throughout life, affecting the expression of those genes and, consequently, tissue function and disease risk. Diet during critical periods of development, such as during the nine months in the womb, has been cited as one such environmental factor. Epigenetics, which refers to modifications to the DNA that regulate how much of a gene is produced, has been suggested to underlie these effects.
However, until now, very little was understood about the underlying mechanisms that control the interaction between diet during gestation and gene expression in offspring throughout their adult life. Research, funded by the BBSRC and the British Heart Foundation, has now shown that the gene Hnf4a, which has been linked to type 2 diabetes, is regulated by maternal diet through epigenetic modifications to our DNA. Additionally, they found that poor diet exacerbates the rate at which these key epigenetic modifications accumulate during the aging process.
Previous research has shown that the gene Hnf4a plays an important role both during development of the pancreas and later in the production of insulin. The researchers hypothesised that diet during pregnancy influences the expression of this gene later in life, thereby influencing the risk of diabetes.
To test their theory, the researchers used a well-established rat model where, by altering the protein content of the mother’s diet during pregnancy, the offspring develop type 2 diabetes in old age.
First, they studied the RNA from insulin secreting cells in the pancreas from offspring of normally fed as well as malnourished mothers in young adult life and in old age. When they compared the two, they found that there was a significant decrease in the expression of the Hnf4a gene in the offspring prone to type 2 diabetes. The expression of Hnf4a also decreased with age in both groups.
Second, they studied the DNA and found that the decrease of Hnf4a was caused by epigenetic changes. The age associated epigenetic silencing was more pronounced in rats exposed to poor maternal diet. They concluded that the epigenetic changes resulting from maternal diet and aging lead to the reduced expression of the Hnf4a gene, decreasing the function of the pancreas and therefore its ability to make insulin (and thereby increasing the risk of diabetes).
The scientists then studied the DNA from insulin secreting cells from human pancreases to show that expression of this important gene was controlled in the same way in humans.
“It is remarkable that maternal diet can mark our genes so they remember events in very early life,” said Dr Miguel Constancia, the senior co-author on the paper from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Metabolic Research Laboratories at the University of Cambridge. “Our findings reveal a novel mechanism by which maternal diet and aging interact through epigenetic processes to determine our risk of age-associated diseases.”
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We already know that a healthy pregnancy is important in shaping a child’s health, and their risk of heart disease as they grow up. The reasons why are not well understood, but this study in rats adds to the evidence that a mother’s diet may sometimes alter the control of certain genes in her unborn child. It’s no reason for expectant mothers to be unduly worried. This research doesn’t change our advice that pregnant women should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet.”
Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC said: “Epigenetics is a relatively young field of research with tremendous potential to underpin our understanding of many biological processes in all organisms. The fact that there is a relationship between the biology of a pregnant mother and the long term health of her child has been known for some time but our understanding of the biological processes behind some of the more subtle effects is still at a nascent stage. This study uncovers — through epigenetics and molecular biology research — an important piece of this puzzle and shows us how apparently minor changes within cells at the very earliest stages of development can have a major influence on our health into

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