Consuming High-fat Diet during Pregnancy Can Harm Three Future Generations

Stillbirth, congenital anomalies, potential obesity, and heart problems are some well documented risks on children whose mothers consume high-fat, high-sugar diet in pregnancy. A new study indicates the impacts do not end with the 1st generation; but a minimum of three following generations may be impacted.

This new study was led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO investigators Dr. Kelle H. Moley and presented in journal Cell Reports.

Obesity in pregnancy is common and can raise specific obstetrical threats. With respect to CDC, nearly 60 % of women begin pregnancy over a normal weight, and below 30 % of women maintain weight during pregnancy as per the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine.

In addition, a 2008 study identified that the prevalence of pre pregnancy obesity went up by 69 % over a 10-year period. It was 13 % in 1993-1994, but by 2002-2003, it had increased to 22 %.

One of the lead author Dr. Moley says

“Our results suggest that a mother’s obesity can damage the health of later on generations,”. “This is especially essential since over 65% of reproductive age women in the United States are obese or overweight.”

The researchers notice that even though earlier research have associated a woman’s maternity health to her child’s body-weight in later life, their study is the first to demonstrate that pre pregnancy obesity can cause genetic abnormalities that can manifest in up to 3 future generations, raising risks for diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

Mothers’ eggs carry details that programs dysfunction in the offspring.

To perform their research, the investigators provided mice a high-fat, high-sugar diet that comprised of 60 % fat and 20 % sugar, which mimics a Western diet. “Usually, it’s like taking fast food every day,” describes Dr. Moley.

The offspring of the mice were then provided a controlled diet of standard rodent chow that is minimal in fat and sugar and high in protein.

Outcomes showed that although the offspring were provided a healthy diet, the pups, grand pups, and great-grand pups of the mothers developed insulin resistance and other metabolic issues.

In addition, the investigators observed abnormal mitochondria in the muscle and skeletal tissue of the mice.

Mitochondria are the energy generating parts of cells; they provide energy for metabolism and other biochemical functions. In addition, they have their own sets of genes that are inherited only from moms and not fathers.

“Our data are the first to demonstrate that pregnant mouse with metabolic syndrome can transfer dysfunctional mitochondria via the female bloodline to 3 generations. Essentially, our research signifies oocytes – or mothers’ eggs – may carry details that programs mitochondrial dysfunction all over the organism.”

Concluding on their research Dr. Kelle H. Moley  said

The noticed effects of maternal metabolic syndrome may be higher than in their mouse model considering that the diets of human kids usually closely mirror those of their parents.

Although more study is required, Dr. Moley says eating healthy is of vital significance and adds that “our diets have worsened, in large portion because of processed foods and fast foods,” encouraging the present obesity problems.