The study – published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology – suggests that choline, a nutrient found in high quantities in eggs, may help protect babies against the effects of a mother's stress during pregnancy.
Previous research has suggested high exposure to the stress hormone cortisol during pregnancy, often due to maternal anxiety or depression, may make offspring vulnerable to stress-induced illness and chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes later in life.
The results of the new study will add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating the importance of choline in fetal development, say the researchers.
Volume 26, Pages, 3563-3574, doi: 10.1096/fj.12-207894fj.12-207894
“Maternal choline intake alters the epigenetic state of fetal cortisol-regulating genes in humans”
Authors: Jiang, X., J. Yan, A. A. West, C. A. Perry, O. V. Malysheva, S. Devapatla, E. Pressman, F. Vermeylen, and M. A. Caudill.