Apples and herbs in a mother’s diet improve the brain health of future generations, a groundbreaking study has found

A new study shows that apples and herbs in a mother’s diet may promote brain health in future generations

A groundbreaking study conducted at Monash University has shown that a mother’s diet in the early stages of pregnancy can have a significant impact on the brain health of not only her immediate offspring, but also future generations. The study, published in Nature Cell Biology, highlights the complex relationship between nutrition, genetics and brain function and identifies certain foods as potential allies in the fight against cognitive impairment.

The study, led by Professor Roger Pocock and his collaborators at the Monash Institute for Biomedical Discovery, used Caenorhabditis elegans, commonly known as roundworms, as a genetic model. These worms share many genes with humans, making them an ideal subject for studying human biology.

The researchers focused on nerve cells in the brain, which form an extensive communication network of about 850,000 kilometers. This network relies on axons, which require essential materials for normal functioning and survival. The research team found that the ursolic acid molecule found in apples and various herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage helps maintain the integrity of this communication network.

As we age, axons can become brittle, leading to impaired brain function and neurodegeneration. However, researchers have found that ursolic acid triggers a gene that produces a special type of fat that prevents axons from becoming brittle and improves their overall health. This fat, known as sphingolipid, is transferred from the mother’s intestines to the eggs in the uterus, protecting axons in future generations.

“This is the first time that a lipid/fat has been shown to be inherited,” says Prof. Pocock. “Maternal feeding of sphingolipid protects axons in two subsequent generations. This means that a mother’s nutrition may not only affect the brain of her offspring, but also subsequent generations.”

Despite the promising results, Professor Pocock emphasized the need for further research to confirm these findings on human mothers. However, he believes that this study confirms the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy for optimal brain development and long-term health.

– “Our work confirms the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy for optimal brain development and health.” – Prof. Roger Pocock

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