Sunday August 25, 2019

Too Much Coffee During Pregnancy Bad for Baby’s Liver, Says New Study

For the study, the researchers investigated the effects of low (equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee) and high doses (equivalent to 6-9 cups of coffee) of caffeine given to pregnant rats, on liver function and hormone levels of their offspring

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A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, Calif., July 25, 2013. VOA

Ladies, limit your tea or coffee intake if you’re expecting, as researchers have found that excess caffeine intake during pregnancy may impair baby’s liver development and increase the risk of liver disease in adulthood.

In a study on rats, it was found that pregnant rats, which were given caffeine, had offspring with lower birth weight, altered growth and stress hormone levels and impaired liver development.

Published in the Journal of Endocrinology, the study indicates that consuming 2-3 cups of coffee a day may alter stress and growth hormone levels in a manner that can impair development of baby’s liver.

“Our results indicate that prenatal caffeine causes an excess of stress hormone activity in the mother, which inhibits IGF-1 activity for liver development before birth. However, compensatory mechanisms do occur after birth to accelerate growth and restore normal liver function as IGF-1 activity increases and stress hormone signalling decreases,” said study co-author Yinxian Wen from the Wuhan University in China.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that plays an important role in childhood growth. “The increased risk of fatty liver disease, caused by prenatal caffeine exposure, is most likely a consequence of this enhanced, compensatory postnatal IGF-1 activity,” Wen said.

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A model wears the Owlet Band pregnancy monitor at the Owlet booth at CES International, Jan. 9, 2019, in Las Vegas. The device can track fetal heart rate, kicks and contractions. VOA

For the study, the researchers investigated the effects of low (equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee) and high doses (equivalent to 6-9 cups of coffee) of caffeine given to pregnant rats, on liver function and hormone levels of their offspring.

“Our work suggests that prenatal caffeine is not good for babies and although these findings still need to be confirmed in people, I would recommend that women avoid caffeine during pregnancy,” Wen said.

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Sweta Gupta, Clinical Director and Senior Consultant at Fertility Solutions, Medicover Fertility in Delhi, agreed that too much of caffeine could be harmful for the baby. “Pregnancy is a time of craving and mood swings. Some consider coffee for relief in such situations,” she said.

However, according to Harshal Rajekar, Consultant Gastro Surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital in Pune, there is hardly any evidence showing that caffeine is harmful for pregnant woman or her baby’s liver though it’s true that excess of caffeine can affect sleep and may deprive the mother of adequate rest during pregnancy, which can, in turn, harm both the mother and the child. (IANS)

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Consuming High- Fibre Diet may Reduce Risk of Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Pregnancy outcomes and infant immunity are linked to gut bacteria

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The mother's gut bacteria and diet appear to be crucial to promoting healthy pregnancy. Pixabay

Ladies, please take note. Consuming a high-fibre diet may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy, researchers have found.

“Simple recommendation to ‘eat real food, mostly plants and not too much’ might be the most effective primary prevention strategy for some of the most serious conditions of our time.

“The mother’s gut bacteria and diet appear to be crucial to promoting healthy pregnancy,” said study lead author Ralph Nanan, Professor at the University of Sydney.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, showed that pregnancy outcomes and infant immunity are linked to gut bacteria.

Fibre, Diet, Pregnancy
Ladies, please take note. Pixabay

Plant-based fibre is broken down in the gut by bacteria into factors that influence the immune system. The research team investigated the role of these metabolic products of gut bacteria during pregnancy.

The researchers found that in humans, reduced levels of acetate, which is mainly produced by fibre fermentation in the gut, is associated with the common and serious pregnancy-related condition preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia occurs in up to 10 per cent of pregnancies and is characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and severe swelling in the mother’s body.

It also interferes with the child’s immune development whilst in the womb, with some evidence suggesting a link to higher rates of allergies and autoimmune diseases later in life.

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The study found that preeclampsia affected the development of an important foetal immune organ – the thymus – which sits just behind the breastbone.

Foetuses in preeclamptic pregnancies were found to have a much smaller thymus than children from healthy pregnancies.

The cells the thymus normally generates — called ‘T’ cells, and specifically those associated with the prevention of allergies and autoimmune conditions such as diabetes — also remained lower in infants after preeclampsia, even four years after delivery.

Fiber, Diet, Pregnancy
Consuming a high-fibre diet may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy, researchers have found. Pixabay

The mechanisms of acetate on the developing foetal immune system were further examined in separate experiments involving mice that showed acetate was central in driving foetal thymus and ‘T’ cell development.

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The results showed that promoting specific metabolic products of gut bacteria during pregnancy might be an effective way to maintain a healthy pregnancy and to prevent allergies and autoimmune conditions later in life. (IANS)