Food, Farming and Nutrition

Journal Abstracts
Sep 12, 2023

Food, Farming and Nutrition

A Mother’s Diet May Impact Brain Health of Her Children

Journal Abstracts
Sep 27, 2023

A new study published in the journal of Nature Cell Biology demonstrates that certain foods are optimal to eat during pregnancy. It has been known that maternal diet and environment can influence the health of offspring, but the specific mechanisms of this relationship remain unclear. This study’s aim was to examine if natural products promote brain health, and further, the health of offspring.

In this study, the researchers examined a molecule commonly found in apples and herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage. The molecule, ursolic acid, helps to turn on a gene that produces a fat associated with promoting axonal health. Axons make up the part of the brain cell that transports messages along the cell and throughout the brain and the body. Promoting axonal health is integral to maintaining healthy communication between brain cells, which may prevent brain dysfunction and neurodegeneration.

Further, the groups of fats that ursolic acid enhances, sphingosine-1-phosphate, is regularly transferred from the intestines to the ovaries, promoting intergenerational neuroprotection. In other words, foods with these molecules may enhance both the pregnant woman’s brain health, and her child’s brain health. The study calls for more research to determine the effect of the fat on humans and their offspring.


A mother’s diet may impact brain health of children and grandchildren. (2023).

Wang, W., Sherry, T., Cheng, X., Fan, Q., Cornell, R., Liu, J., Xiao, Z., & Pocock, R. (2023). An intestinal sphingolipid confers intergenerational neuroprotection. Nature Cell Biology.



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