Mom’s Diet Can Affect Development of Next Two Generations

Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy can have lasting effects across generations that impact development not only of children, but also of grandchildren. These heritable effects are linked to epigenetic changes that influence gene expression but not DNA sequence. At the NRI, we seek to understand how nutrition affects health and why different people respond differently to the same nutrients. The Ideraabdullah laboratory is particularly interested in identifying epigenetic changes that are caused by nutrient deficiencies and understanding how an individual’s genetic makeup influences those particular epigenetic modifications.

While maternal vitamin D deficiency is linked to negative health outcomes in children, it has not previously been shown to exert multigenerational effects. In a recent publication in Clinical Epigenetics, Dr. Ideraabdullah looked at the effects of maternal vitamin D deficiency over two generations of offspring. Mouse moms were fed either a sufficient amount of vitamin D or a diet lacking vitamin D (LVD) during pregnancy and lactation. All offspring were fed a diet sufficient in vitamin D. They found that offspring from the vitamin D deficient mothers had differences in body weight and reproductive development. Importantly, body weight differences were also found in the next generations of mice (i.e., those whose grandmothers, but not mothers, ate the LVD during gestation).
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Appetite For Life

Appetite for Life returns in January 2017 with a new line-up of speakers and presentations in nutrition research. Presentations are in Kannapolis and Charlotte. Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss one!
January 17 – Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D.
(Registration opens December 19)
Gluten, Lactose Intolerance, Allergens, Oh My!
Making complex nutrition science digestable
We all have our own nutritional needs because we are different in so many ways. Gender, age, body size, physical activity, genomic variation, gut microbiome and many other factors determine which dietary patterns and lifestyles work for us individually. The greatest challenge is to translate the vast amounts of nutrition knowledge into practical action. How do you know your personal targets for nutrients, food types and lifestyle behaviors? How do you know which food combinations meet those targets? At the NRI, we have developed an innovative online application to support making good food choices based on your individual needs. Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D., creator of this online tool will explain how the application calculates your total energy intake and, based on your individual nutrition targets, acceptable ranges and weighting factors, determines key nutrients and food groups best for you. [learn more]
2017 Schedule
February 16 – Robyn Amos-Kroohs, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, NRI, on why we crave food that isn’t good for us
March 16 – Cooking for Nourishment at Johnson & Wales University
April 18 – Grant Canipe, Graduate Student, NRI on nutrition and cognitive aging
May 9 – David Nieman, Ph.D., Appalachian State University and John Anderson, Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill, on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet and importance of fruit and vegetable polyphenols

Add Health, Tasty Twist to Your Holiday Treats and Meals

This article was originally published on
Holiday meals are one of the joys of the season that inevitably become the bane of each New Year, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Seasonal delights are often packed with sugar, “bad” fat and holiday memories that make the temptation too much. This season, nutrition experts at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) offer their tips, suggestions, and personal recipe favorites that will help you enjoy your favorite foods without carrying them with you into 2017.
Everyone wants to splurge on turkey and gravy during the holidays.
“There’s nothing wrong with the traditional turkey,” says Chef Mark Allison, Director of Culinary Nutrition for the Dole Nutrition Institute, “Roast your turkey as opposed to deep frying, and aim for a portion about the size of your palm.”
“If you’re going to eat turkey, make sure you have more fruits and vegetables on your plate than the turkey,” says Aubrey Mast, MPH, Extension Associate in nutrition at the NC State Plants for Human Health Institue (PHHI). “A little bit goes a long way; it’s all about moderation.”
For the gravy, limit the amount of turkey fat you use. Using vegetables for gravy is also an option, and swapping out the milk for coconut milk or almond milk reduces calorie content.
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Participate in Nutrition Research

NRI nutrition research starts in the laboratory then, sometimes, moves into clinical trials. These studies rely on people who volunteer to be part of scientific discovery to find new ways to detect, treat or even prevent disease. At the NRI, research focuses on the intersection of nutrition and genetics and, therefore, each clinical study has different requirements. So check the opportunities below to see if you are eligible.

  • Fructose Study: High uric acid in the blood increases the risk of gout, and kidney and heart diseases. This study investigates whether each individual responds to sugar-sweetened beverages differently, due to their differing ethnicities and genetic backgrounds.[Learn more]
  • Fatty Liver Study: To evaluate a new painless/non-invasive technique to study fatty liver disease.[Learn more]
  • Maternal Child and Health Study: Seeks to determine the effect of pregnancy complications in African American mothers on disease risk of their children. [Learn more]

When you participate in a clinical trial you provide opportunity to researchers and hope to so many people worldwide.