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Weight gain

A Recent Study Shows Weight Gain Curtailed With Vitamins

Monday, August 25, 2008 by: Joanne Waldron
Tags: weight gain, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) researchers have announced in a news release that overweight female mice have babies that become even fatter, and the trend repeats itself in successive generations. The researchers conducted a study to determine the effect of maternal obesity in three generations of genetically identical mice that were all prone to excessive eating. One group of mice was fed a normal diet; the other group of mice was fed a normal diet supplemented with vitamin B-12, folic acid, betaine and choline. Interestingly enough, the group of mice that was fed the normal diet without the vitamins got even fatter, even though they were given the same exact diet as their mothers. However, the mice that were given the supplements in addition to the normal diet didn't get any chubbier.

The supplemented diet was designed to enhance a process known as DNA methylation, which is a chemical reaction that silences genes. The study of changes in gene silencing that happen without making changes in the actual genes is known as epigenetics. Dr. Robert A. Waterland, lead author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics nutrition at BCM, explains that the researchers believe that DNA methylation may have a part in the development of the area of the brain that regulates appetite (known as the hypothalamus).

According to Waterland, "Twenty years ago, it was proposed that just as genetic mutations can cause cancer, so too might aberrant epigenetic marks -- so called 'epimutations.' That idea is now largely accepted and the field of cancer epigenetics is very active. I would make the same statement for obesity. We are on the cusp of understanding that."

While humans don't have the same genes as mice, Waterman states, "Why is everyone getting heavier and heavier? One hypothesis is that maternal obesity before and during pregnancy affects the establishment of body weight regulatory mechanisms in her baby. Maternal obesity could promote obesity in the next generation."

If this is true, it would certainly seem prudent for women planning on getting pregnant to get their weight well under control first. This also begs the question of whether giving children of obese mothers some sort of a vitamin supplement, as was done with the mice in the study, would have similar beneficial results. It would certainly seem preferable to take preemptive measures when it comes to a child's health, rather than performing cholesterol screening on infants as young as two and drugging grade schoolers with statins, which are two of the proposed measures currently endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

About the author

Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.

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