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Brain-selective nutrients in pregnancy and lactation

PhD ceremony:Ms E. (Eline) Stoutjesdijk
When:December 09, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. F.A.J. Muskiet, prof. dr. I.P. (Ido) Kema
Co-supervisor:dr. D.A.J. (Janneke) Dijck-Brouwer
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG

The “brain-selective nutrients” iodine, selenium, iron, vitamins D and B12, fish oil fattyacids (EPA+DHA), zinc and copper are crucial for normal human brain development.Lifestyle, diet included, has drastically changed over the past 10,000 years. Current dietaryrecommendations may therefore be based, in part, on subjects with suboptimal lifestylesand subclinical nutrient deficiencies.We investigated brain-selective nutrients in pregnant and lactating women with differentlife-long lifestyles living in the Netherlands, Curaçao, Vietnam, Malaysia and Tanzania.There were large differences in breast milk vitamin B12, vitamin D and (trace) elements.Consequently, it seems more appropriate to derive dietary recommendations for0-6-month-old infants from functional outcomes rather than “apparently healthy”subjects. We found low breast milk vitamin B12 vitamin D, copper, iodine, and selenium,compared with recommended intakes for newborns. Low milk vitamins B12 and D contentsat adequate maternal status point at the importance of building adequate fetal stores.We considered the EPA+DHA, vitamin D and iodine status of the investigated pregnantDutch women suboptimal. The needed supplemental dosages proved far above currentrecommendations: 35 and >85 μg vitamin D/day were needed to reach optimal statusduring pregnancy and lactation, respectively, while 1,000 mg EPA+DHA/day was neededfor optimal milk EPA+DHA. The insufficient iodine status of pregnant women becamealmost corrected by a 150 μg iodine/day supplement. Taken together, we found variousbrain-selective nutrients in pregnant and lactating Dutch women to be suboptimal. Theoutcomes of this thesis shift our attention from pregnancy and lactation to the preconceptionalperiod.