In episode 83 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
Having a baby is a huge responsibility not only after the baby is born but from the time of conception. Everything that a pregnant woman eats or is exposed to during pregnancy has the potential to affect their growing fetus, and its future. Two recent studies point to the conclusion that what you eat has a huge bearing on the health and well-being of your child.
What the researchers found was that the more fish a pregnant woman consumed; the better their baby’s brain development was. DR. CHAD LARSON
A study published this month out of Scandinavia in the British Medical Journal evaluated the diets of 60,000 pregnant women in Denmark. Specifically, researchers were looking to isolate risk factors for type 1 diabetes that traces back to pregnancy. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where there is the destruction of a particular part of the pancreas that leads to blood sugar dysregulation.
The researchers looked at gluten consumption of the pregnant women. The amount of gluten consumption in the group was anywhere from 7 grams to 20 grams a day. Four to six grams is the equivalent of about a piece of whole wheat bread or whole wheat pasta.
What the researchers found was that the risk factor was doubled going from the low to the high consumption group. The higher the consumption of a pregnant mom, the greater the risk factor increased for their baby developing type 1 diabetes. There was a relative increase of gluten to a baby developing type 1 diabetes.
The reason for the correlation could potentially be that gluten causes inflammation in the mother’s body. And, it might be that the inflammation chemicals can get into the baby and hurt the growing fetus’s current and future health. Another explanation might be that gluten causes a breakdown of the gut barrier in the pregnant women.
When pregnant women develop leaky gut, that might increase inflammatory substances that can affect their baby’s future health. Or, it could perhaps be that disruption of the gut microbiome, which is an imbalance in good versus bad bacteria in the gut, can lead to autoimmunity.
A second study released this month in Pediatric Research was out of Finland. Researchers wanted to see how fish consumption affected babies. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids and also has many healthy properties for pregnant women.
What the researchers found was that the more fish a pregnant woman consumed; the better their baby’s brain development was. They evaluated women according to a diet diary and a questionnaire.
They also followed the women’s self-reporting with a lab analysis later in the pregnancy. After their baby was born, researchers evaluated the baby at one month of life. Those women who consumed higher amounts of fish had children who had better neural development and brain development as assessed by analyzing their visual tract.
So, if you are pregnant, diet matters. Consider decreasing your gluten intake and beefing up your fish. That way, you can cut down on the risk factor for your baby developing type 1 diabetes and have a child with enhanced brain development. Having a baby comes with a significant amount of responsibility both during and after pregnancy.