A healthy diet during lactation is able to prevent metabolic alterations in offspring


Following a healthy diet during the lactation period manages to normalize the lipid content of milk and prevent metabolic alterations in the offspring, according to a recent study carried out by a team from the Obesity and Nutrition area of ​​the Network Biomedical Research Center ( CIBEROBN ).

Through this study, published in the journal ‘Molecular Nutrition & Food Research’, we sought to evaluate in an animal model whether the normalization of maternal diet during breastfeeding manages to prevent the harmful effects of the consumption of a obesogenic diet before and during pregnancy exercised on the ‘lipidome’ or lipidomic profile (the set of hundreds of lipids) in breast milk and plasma of offspring, discovering that it is possible to achieve it.

This new knowledge is relevant because, in addition to the existing evidence on the importance of the nutritional environment during fetal life for the good growth and subsequent health of the offspring, it shows that the recovery of a healthier maternal diet during lactation can prevent, at least in part, metabolic disorders caused by poor diet and obesity during the prenatal stages.

Additionally, previous intervention studies in animal models have shown that the intake of an obesogenic diet during the perinatal period affects mammary gland function and, therefore, milk composition, meaning that these alterations can “program the offspring” for a greater propensity to develop chronic pathologies in adulthood.

In this perspective, the researchers considered it “interesting” to study the possible intervention strategies during the lactation period to prevent only the adverse effects caused by an unbalanced maternal diet during pregnancy, or even before it.

To do this, they carried out a lipidomic profile analysis to determine the alterations of said profile that could be potentially involved in the risk that the offspring develop diseases in later stages of life, also analyzing the lipid profile of the plasma of the offspring. in the late lactation stage.

The results of this study showed that maternal consumption of an obesogenic diet throughout the perinatal period (specifically, from one month before pregnancy and during pregnancy and lactation) causes a significant change in the lipid composition of the milk and plasma of their young at a young age.

These alterations were largely reversed both in the milk of mothers who received a standard (balanced) diet during lactation and in the plasma of their offspring. The reversal of these changes has been linked, at least in part, to the recovery of expression levels of the hormone adiponectin in the mammary gland, as well as the decreased expression of several pro-inflammatory factors.

The authors of the study, led by Professor Catalina Picó, are now investigating to what extent these results (obtained in an animal model) can be extrapolated to humans.

In any case, they recommend extreme caution in feeding during lactation, since this is a “critical period” in which it is possible to correct metabolic alterations in offspring that may have been wrong. programmed by previous periods of unhealthy diets or lifestyles.

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