Unbalanced maternal nutrition causes overeating in children
Topics: Nutrition, Research, Genetics, Beauty and Health
New brain cells release dopamine, which is behind hedonic food intake in adulthood, Medical Express reports. What is behind this mechanism, scientists at the University of Hiroshima were able to figure out by conducting experiments with mice. Pregnant mice that were on a diet high in omega-6 and low in omega-3 fat produced offspring that tended to overeat in search of pleasure (hedonic intake), experts said.
Omega-6 fats are found in grape seed oil, corn oil, sesame oil, and can also be found in some salad dressings. Omega-3 fats are found in fish, perilla oil, and flaxseed oil. A diet balanced in these fats is believed to be beneficial for brain development. The researchers also found that offspring of mice with an imbalanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 showed increased intrauterine growth of dopamine-producing neurons in the reward region of the brain. This prepares the brains of the mice for the hedonic consumption of sugar and fatty foods.
The relationship between these two types of fats is important as they compete with each other for incorporation into cell membranes. And the imbalance of these fats in the membranes of red blood cells has previously been associated with weight gain. Researchers from Hiroshima, by the way, found a drug that inhibits the activity of dopamine, which solved the problem of hedonic food intake in offspring. Therefore, dopamine signaling is indeed important for the formation of harmful eating behavior. For this reason, adult mice exhibiting overeating have been neurologically programmed for nutritional problems due to their mothers' diet.