Posts Tagged ‘healthy baby’

Prenatal vitamins halve the risk of autism.

June 12, 2011

by Birgitta Lauren –  June 12, 2011

Epidemiologist Rebecca J. Schmidt of the UC Davis MIND Institute and colleagues found that women who did not take prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy doubled their risk of having an autistic child. Those women who also had a mutation in a high risk gene were 7 times as likely to have an autistic child. The researchers found that the sooner a woman started her vitamins the less chance of autism. They also found 2 gene mutations called MTHFR and COMT which increase homocysteine levels and reduced Folate metabolism, increasing the risk 4. 5 and 7 times respectively if mom didn’t supplement.  This proves how important nutrition is during pregnancy and gives an inexpensive easy way for women to reduce the risk for her baby.

But nutrition is not all that affects Epigenome. Epigenome being the code that determines which of our genetic DNA will be switched on or off or how much. Sort of like the software telling your DNA hardware what to do. Many things affect your Epigenome depending on lifestyle choices and exposure. Such as:






The most vulnerable time for changes to the Epigenome is of course during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester when our DNA is formed.  In a 2009 Duke University study on epigenetics and autism, published in the Journal BMC Medicine they found that kids with autism had their Epigenome turning off genes necessary for oxytocin response that helps with social interaction.  Puberty is another important time of epigenetic changes that can be severely affected by irresponsible behavior…. But we (women and men) can continue to affect and change or Epigenome and therefore DNA throughout our lives, which in turn will affect our health and the health of our children and grandchildren… who’s DNA will be affected or molded by their future lifestyle and exposure etc… our DNA and therefore health is moldable and changeable indefinitely for better or worse.

The chemicals that make up the epigenetic code ultimately come from your diet. Folate for instance is needed to turn off unwanted DNA.  Pregnant mice fed Folate and other nutrients have lean, brown pups. Those not fed vitamins had yellow, fat pups prone to diabetes. Mice exposed to BPA plastic chemicals also produced yellow, fat pups, but not if they were also fed Folate and other vitamins. Proving further how important nutrition is in acting like a safety net, preventing toxic side-effects. Smoking is dangerous epigenetic factor that can seriously affect development and cancer.

Our DNA is not always completely “on” or “off”, but works sort of like on a dimmer switch depending on factors. One study at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito CA, studied men with prostate cancer who voluntarily practiced a special 3 months program of exercise, behavior and a healthy diet, without medical treatment. After the program their biopsies showed 48 genes turned up and 453 turned down.

Genes are inheritable, but it depends on what you do with them. Randy Jirtle, epigenetic scientist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. say’s: -“The thing I love about epigenetics is that you have the potential to alter your destiny” and my favorite quote: – “You now have a major responsibility… to optimize your Epigenome.”

If we know that prenatal vitamins can help prevent autism, does get the vaccines off the hook?  NO!

The more we get to know from epigenetic studies of how things affect our health the more responsible we need to be when it comes to toxic exposure of drugs and chemicals. The fewer chemicals we are exposed to the better. When we are exposed, nutritional safety nets needs to be considered. When/if any or certain vaccines are needed, they need to be spread out over time and not given in multiple doses. Mom’s nutritional intake and chemical exposure needs to be evaluated before babies are inoculated.  There is mercury in all vaccines as a preservative, among formaldehyde and many other chemicals.  And I do believe we need to re-educate ourselves on the immunological importance of some so-called childhood diseases, many of which I have had as a kid, as my mom made sure I got them to protect me in the future. Since when is measles so bad – it may be a bit itchy, but nothing worse than any flu. Besides it seemed to warrant a lot of ice cream…

“DNA referees”, by Amber Dance. LA Times May 3rd 2011,                                                                                            “Prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of autism by half, even more for some higher – risk cases”, by Thomas H. Maugh II. LA Times May 25th, 2011


April 21, 2009

The beginning of year 2009 through March, the National Nutrition Month, leading up to the American Diabetes Alert Day of March 24 saw many studies came out in favor of the “Happy Vitamin” D. Researchers from Bristol University, UK, found that moms who get more sunshine and vitamin D during pregnancy have taller children with stronger and thicker bones than those moms who get less. The study followed moms that delivered either late summer or early spring. Babies born in late summer were slightly taller with thicker bones. Scientist Jon Tobias thinks that anything that affects early bone development is significant in regards to preventing osteoporosis later. Vitamin D3 is produced in the body upon sun exposure and aids in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus that all aid in tissue and bone maintenance and metabolic actions.

In the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers from the University of Manchester report: – “Our study found that vitamin D is positively related to muscle power, force, velocity and jump height in adolescent girls.” supporting the above findings on the bone and muscle strengthening benefits of vitamin D.

Calcium and vitamin D have also been shown to improve insulin levels and to protect against diabetes. In the Journal of Nutrition1, Tianying Wu, Walter C. Willet, and Edward Giovannucci from the Harvard School of Public Health wrote: -” The results suggest that calcium intake and systematic vitamin D status, after adjustment for intake of dairy products, is associated with decreased insulin secretion.” Data from the Nurses’ Health Study was used showing the benefits from increased calcium and vitamin D intake. However no benefit was found when considering dairy intake. This was in contrast to earlier studies. Diabetes is growing rapidly; 19 million Europeans and 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes.

With diabetes also being connected to a high incidence of perinatal and postpartum depression in especially low — income mothers, nutritional efforts have to be addressed especially in regards to vitamin D and calcium. Omega fatty acids also play an important role in diabetes and depression. Postpartum depression has been shown to affect babies negatively and should be prevented.

Diabetes is in addition associated with obesity and a new study by the Medical College of Georgia’s Yanbin Dong and Inger Stallman-Jorgensen, presented at the American Heart Association’s Joint 49th Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, is showing that higher intakes of vitamin D again is linked with less overall body fat and especially lower abdominal fat in kids. African – American girls had the lowest Vitamin D levels and are at increased risk of osteoporosis and obesity. Vitamin D comes in 2 forms: D3 which is produced from sun exposure and the most bioactive and D2 found in foods like liver, fatty fish and fortified milk. Stallman-Jorgensen said: -“As humans, our largest source of vitamin D should be the sun. But we don’t spend enough time outdoors to get enough sun exposure and when we do, we’re often covered up and wearing sunscreen.”

Vitamin D is also according to Dr. Christine Olson, professor of nutrition at Cornell University in NY, linked to a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and is therefore associated with increased likelihood of childhood obesity and diabetes too, if mom gains too much. (More than 25-35 lbs.) Experts are warning that preventing obesity starts before conception with mom’s weight. The trend toward bigger babies is of concern to experts. Today babies are born 59% more likely to be overweight than 20 years ago. Even the child’s father’s weight can predict an overweight baby. ACOG has more on this.

Oxford-based researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada also found that Supplements of vitamin D and sunshine at ‘critical time periods’ may be key to reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis3.

With these studies adding to a growing body of science linking vitamin D-deficiency to osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, several common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases, the FDA has just allowed for vitamin D fortification of soy-based foods (Food Additives Rule 21 CFR part 172). However, your best source is still the sun so, with spring here and summer around the corner, Vitamin D will be plentiful. To safely get sufficient vitamin D Caucasians should get 10-15 minutes of daily unprotected sunshine (no sun screen). Dark skinned people need up to 45 minutes of daily sunshine to produce enough vitamin D due to the higher melanin content in their skin. The sun does dry our skin so it is always prude to protect your face from the sun while any other body part soaks up the sun.
-Birgitta Lauren

pS. i also just found some science on vitamin D deficiencies linked to autism – more on that later..

1 Journal of Nutrition 2009, Volume 139, Pages 547-554, doi:10.3945/jn.108.089920 “Plasma C-Peptide Is Inversely Associated with Calcium Intake in Women and with Plasma 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D in Men” – Authors: T. Wu, W.C. Willett, E. Giovannucci

2 JAMA 2009;301(8):842-847

3 PLoS Genetics 5(2): e1000369. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000369 “Expression of the multiple sclerosis-associated MHC class II allele HLA-DRB1*1501 is regulated by Vitamin D”, Authors: S.V. Ramagopalan, N.J. Maugeri, L. Handunnetthi, Lincoln MR, Orton S-M, et al.