Malnutrition in Pregnancy and later heart disease risk – (01-08-01)

CVD in Offspring Linked to Maternal Malnutrition in Early Gestation

I often say that it’s never too early and never too late to make changes towards a healthy lifestyle. This mantra of mine really seems to be coming under assault lately!! We really need to focus on maintaining proper nutrition throughout periconception, pregnancy and lactation. For the high numbers of women experiencing nausea preventing proper nutrition, ginger has worked wonders for many women.

Heart 2000;84:595-598 The first evidence to link maternal malnutrition during early gestation with the development of coronary heart disease in offspring is reported by Dutch researchers. “Prenatal undernutrition had permanent effects on cardiovascular risk factors, Dr. Roseboom told Reuters Health. “We found that people who were exposed to the famine in early gestation had an increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life.” The prevalence of coronary heart disease in those exposed to famine during early gestation was 8.8% compared with 3.2% for those not exposed. However, the investigators observed no increase in the prevalence of coronary heart disease in subjects exposed to famine during middle and late gestation, compared with the nonexposed group. Although individuals with coronary heart disease tended to have lower birthweights and smaller head circumferences at birth, Dr. Roseboom’s group found the relationship between early e! xposure to famine and coronary heart disease to be independent of birthweight. These findings suggest “that we may be able to prevent coronary heart disease by optimizing maternal diet during pregnancy,” she concluded. “Pregnant women are very eager to change their lifestyle for the sake of their babies, so it may be a very efficient way of preventing coronary heart disease in future generations.”

Gamma-Tocopherol Associated w/ Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer** This concept of antioxidants lowering levels of many diseases is nothing new, but I thought I would use this chance to enlighten. Gamma-tocopherol is what most people think of when Vit E is mentioned, but nature actually makes many types of tocopherols. By eating whole fruits, veggies and whole grains we get a wide range of these tocopherols.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2000;92:1966-1967,2018-2023 High concentrations of gamma-tocopherol, the most common dietary form of vitamin E, are associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, study results suggest. Dr. Kathy J. Helzlsouer, of Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, and a multicenter team conducted a nested case-control study of 117 men with prostate cancer and 233 cancer-free men. Concentrations of selenium, gamma-tocopherol and alpha-tocopherol were measured in plasma and toenail samples. The researchers report that higher concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol and selenium were associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, but only the association with gamma-tocopherol was statistically significant. The risk of developing prostate cancer was five times lower in men with the highest fifth of gamma-tocopherol levels than in men with the lowest fifth. The beneficial effects! of alpha-tocopherol and selenium appeared to be related to levels of gamma-tocopherol, according to the report. For these substances, “protective associations with prostate cancer risk were observed when gamma-tocopherol concentrations were above the control subject-based median value,” the authors write in the December 20th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The results suggest that increasing the concentration of gamma-tocopherol may magnify the risk reduction, according to the report. In an editorial that accompanies the study, Dr. Edward Giovannucci, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, notes that the findings raise the question of whether displacement of gamma-tocopherol by alpha-tocopherol in vitamin E supplements has adverse health effects. “The balance of these agents, as well as potential modifiers of risk, such as smoking, should be considered in the design and interpretation of results of future ob! servational and intervention studies,” he concludes.


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.