Programming by early nutrition

The Early Nutrition Academy goes e-learning — join now! Here you will find an introduction to the science of early nutrition and metabolic programming, the aims of the academy, trainings and post-graduate courses, useful links to research literature on early nutrition programming and information about future events and related fields of research. The Early Nutrition Academy ENA was established along with the Early Nutrition Programming Project EARNEST to foster nutrition research and its standards, in particular as it relates to nutrition in women of childbearing age, infants and children, including basic science, epidemiology and applied nutrition, as well as standards of nutrition practice foster nutrition education provide training in research skills communicate research findings foster implementation and dissemination of knowledge help shape EU policy help transfer knowledge and technology to commercial users To reach these goals the academy offers trainings and post-graduate courses held by cooperation partners in various institutions across Europe.

Programming by early nutrition

Evidence for programming by nutrition is established in animals, in whom brief pre- or postnatal nutritional manipulations may program adult size, metabolism, blood lipids, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, atherosclerosis, learning, behavior and life span.

Human epidemiological data link potential markers of early nutrition size at birth or in infancy to cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in adulthood. However, these retrospective data cannot prove nutritional cause or underpin health policies. After 16 y, however, of ethical, randomized intervention studies of early nutrition in humans with long-term follow-up to test experimentally the nutritional programming hypothesis, we find that humans, like other species, have sensitive windows for nutrition in terms of later outcomes; for instance, perinatal diet influences neurodevelopment and bone mineralization into mid-childhood.

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Animal and human evidence supporting nutritional programming has major potential biological and medical significance. Programming by early nutritionMacy et al.

Yet, despite the massive scientific effort, fundamental issues in infant nutrition practice remain unresolved, resulting in confusion among health professionals and in inconsistent, inadequately supported public health recommendations and standards of practice.

When such uncertainty exists in the presence of such a large body of research and knowledge, it is reasonable to challenge whether the right questions have been addressed.

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To throw more light on this uncertainty, it is instructive to examine how other fields of health intervention have generally evolved. Usually this has been a three-stage process Lucas Finally, in stage III, formal intervention experiments test the efficacy and safety of clinical or public health practice.

Thus, taking the analogy of research into high blood pressure, stage III research shows whether intervention with antihypertensive drugs matters in terms of improving long-term health e. The ability of antihypertensive drugs simply to lower blood pressure stage II research has real value only if it improves outcome stage III research.

Twenty years ago, the field of early nutrition had largely become arrested in stage II. Research generally focused on collection of physiological and epidemiological data on growth, nutritional status, metabolic response to feeding, energetics, nutrient absorption and retention, composition of foods, prevalence of nutritional disorders, and so on.

It is true that considerable earlier efforts had been made to define intakes that would prevent overt nutritional deficiency, and that was, of course, of obvious clinical importance.

However, formal experimental stage III research on whether early nutrition mattered in terms of critical health and developmental outcomes was seldom undertaken and usually poorly conceived. In recent decades there has been a significant shift in thinking about nutrition from a preoccupation with meeting nutrient needs to a concern about its effect on health, including adult degenerative diseases, cancer and cognitive function BarkerIARCLucas More recently, an important new dimension to the nutrition and health theme has been the appreciation that there may be critical windows in early development, both pre- and postnatal, during which nutrition could have lifetime consequences for development and major disease in adult life.

Programming by early nutrition

Before consideration of nutritional programming, however, the following section describes the much broader concept of programming as a key biological phenomenon. Lucas suggested the term programming be applied to the latter two processes in which the programming stimulus exerts long-term effects only when applied at a critical or sensitive period.

Evidence for programming, other than by nutrition, is considerable Lucas Illustrative examples are cited here. Early imprinting of behavior in birds has been recognized for centuries Spalding Hormonal signals operating during critical windows have numerous programming effects.

Thus, in rats, testosterone secreted by the fetal testis at a critical period programs the brain for male sexual behaviour; a single dose of testosterone given during at this time to a female fetus will permanently reorientate sexual behaviour to the male form Angelbeck and Du Brul The early-life origins of health and disease.

The environment encountered during fetal life and infancy appears to be strongly related to risk of non-communicable diseases in adult life (Barker, ).In order to explain these apparently causal relationships it is proposed that adaptations during critical phases of growth and development may ensure the maintenance of homeostasis, and hence.

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Early Nutrition Academy: Introduction to science of early nutrition and metabolic programming, aims of the academy, trainings and post-graduate courses.

Although the links between early growth and later disease risk implicate early-life nutrition, either in utero or during infancy, few prospective studies have explored the influence of early diet on later body composition.

Many studies have associated breast-feeding with a reduced prevalence of obesity categorised by BMI; however, the few.

Programming by early nutrition

Worldwide, EarlyNutrition is the largest project investigating programming effects for health in later life. Researchers from 35 institutions in 12 European countries, the United States and Australia have joined forces to study how early nutrition programming and lifestyle factors impact the rates of obesity and related disorders.

Early nutrition programming is the concept that differences in nutritional experience at critical periods in early life, both pre- and post-natally, can programme a person's development, metabolism and .

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