Micronutrient status, cognition and behavioral problems in childhood

Department of Psychology, University of Swansea, Swansea, Wales, SA2 8PP, UK.
European Journal of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 3.47). 08/2008; 47 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):38-50. DOI: 10.1007/s00394-008-3004-9
Source: PubMed


It is widely accepted that the rapid rate of growth of the brain during the last third of gestation and the early postnatal stage makes it vulnerable to an inadequate diet, although brain development continues into adulthood and micronutrient status can influence functioning beyond infancy. A deficiency of various micro-nutrients in developing countries has been found to have long-term implication for cognitive development. Vitamin A plays a critical role in visual perception and a deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness. A lack of iodine during a critical period in brain development is associated with reduced intellectual ability. Iron shortage is a widespread problem in the developing world but also in industrialized countries. There is evidence that iron deficiency in early life adversely effects brain development. In addition in industrialized countries a role for folate in the prevention of neural tube defects is well established and in a few individuals impaired cognitive functioning is associated with the inadequate provision of vitamin B(12. )The controversial suggestions that sub-clinical deficiencies of micronutrients may in industrialized societies influence anti-social behavior and intelligence are also discussed.

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    • "Nutrients do not function in isolation. It is possible that a beneficial response to the supplementation of a single deficient brain nutrient, for example, choline, has not been observed because the functioning of other aspects of a chain of necessary reactions has been inhibited by other deficiencies (Benton, 2008). It is also important to emphasize that consuming diets that are excessively rich or deficient in brain nutrients at any time in life may cause disease or premature death (Church et al., 2009; Georgieff, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Diet, lifestyle and environment do not just affect a person's health, they also determine the health of their children and possibly the health of their grandchildren. Mental ill health is an epidemic worldwide because of the combined effect of the modern diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Primary prevention of mental ill health starts, crucially, with optimal adult nutrition before the inception of pregnancy, includes breastfeeding, and continues throughout the life of the newborn. Obesity in pregnancy and poor human nutrition must be tackled head on. Nanocellulose and calorie-free monk fruit extract could be used to lower the energy density of processed foods/drinks (< 1.6 kcal g−1), and their bioavailable brain nutrient content including cofactors can be increased using bioactive encapsulation. Aquatic biotechnology can provide all the nutrients needed to make processed foods really nutritious. The nutritional value of processed and farmed foods should be based on the nutritional value of the late Palaeolithic human diet to help prevent mental ill health and other postprandial insults. After all, disease prevention, in the long run, is far less costly than treatment.
    Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for the Aging Population, 01/2013: chapter Preventing the epidemic of mental ill health: an overview: pages 173-186; Academic Press, San Diego.
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    • "Among biological factors, malnutrition throughout pregnancy and during early life is clearly identifiable as a cause of damage in CNS development. Although all the nutrients are necessary for proper cerebral development, there is strong evidence that just the deficiency of some micronutrients is enough to influence children's cognition and behavior [12]. Micronutrients such as: iron, iodine, folic acid, vitamin B12 and choline play an important and known role in the process of growth and maturity of CNS. "
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    ABSTRACT: The acquisition of cognitive, sensory-motor and social emotional functions depend on a proper development of the Central Nervous System (CNS). This set of functions, known as intelligence, allows a better adaptation to the environment. In the last decades, an increase in the average of intelligence has been reported. However, such an increase cannot be observed in an equivalent way in economically and social underprivileged regions. Children from those regions are in great risk of being affected by mental retardation or impaired cognitive development. In later life they will, probably, be unable to transform and improve themselves and their communities, perpetuating the poverty of the region. Therefore, knowledge of factors involved in CNS development is a matter of health closely related to social improvement. Malnutrition throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding is clearly identifiable as a cause of damage in CNS development. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is a micronutrient important to the growth and maturity of the CNS. Thiamine shortcoming may affect 50% of pregnant women. Thiamine function in cerebral development is still not well known. There is a gap in the literature regarding systematical research about the blood thiamine concentration throughout the periods of gestation and breastfeeding. These studies are relevant in populations with a high level of nutritional vulnerability, because in a follow up offspring cognitive exam they could reveal if the maternal thiamine deficiency is related to child CNS impairment. This paper introduce the hypothesis that thiamine shortcoming during pregnancy and breastfeeding is directly related to cognitive impairment of child. Data about the neurophysiological role of thiamine, consequences of its shortcoming in experimental models, populations under the risk of thiamine shortcoming are presented. The hypothesis that maternal thiamine shortcoming causes damage related to child cognitive development needs to be considered. Thus, thiamine shortcoming during gestation and breastfeeding and its effects on children must be studied in many populations in order to know the magnitude of the problem and to indicate actions to overcome it.
    Medical Hypotheses 10/2012; 80(1). DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2012.09.011 · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    • "Jaquier et al., 2006). Distinct variability has been reported in the occurrence rates for NTDs according to geographic area, socioeconomic status, and ethnic background (Frey & Hauser, 2003; Nazer et al., 2001; Pitkin, 2007; Benton, 2008). "
    Neural Tube Defects - Role of Folate, Prevention Strategies and Genetics, 03/2012; , ISBN: 978-953-51-0317-2
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