You are what you eat, and so are your children: the impact of micronutrients on the epigenetic programming of offspring.

K. Vanhees, I.G. Vonhogen, F.J. van Schooten, R.W.L. Godschalk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The research field of fetal programming has developed tremendously over the years and increasing knowledge suggests that both maternal and paternal unbalanced diet can have long-lasting effects on the health of offspring. Studies implicate that macronutrients play an important role in fetal programming, although the importance of micronutrients is also becoming increasingly apparent. Folic acid and vitamins B2, B6 and B12 are essential for one-carbon metabolism and are involved in DNA methylation. They can therefore influence the programming of the offspring's epigenome. Also, other micronutrients such as vitamins A and C, iron, chromium, zinc and flavonoids play a role in fetal programming. Since it is estimated that approximately 78 % of pregnant women in the US take vitamin supplements during pregnancy, more attention should be given to the long-term effects of these supplements on offspring. In this review we address several different studies which illustrate that an unbalanced diet prior and during pregnancy, regarding the intake of micronutrients of both mother and father, can have long-lasting effects on the health of adult offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-285
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Fetal programming
  • Epigenetics
  • Maternal/paternal effect
  • Transgenerational inheritance
  • Micronutrients
  • Flavonoids
  • POLYUNSATURATED FATTY-ACIDS
  • VITAMIN-A SUPPLEMENTATION
  • NEURAL-TUBE DEFECTS
  • MAMMARY-CANCER RISK
  • OXIDATIVE STRESS
  • INSULIN-RESISTANCE
  • BISPHENOL-A
  • PRENATAL EXPOSURE
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • PREGNANT-WOMEN

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