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Extra choline tijdens de zwangerschap*
Uit een Amerikaanse studie blijkt dat extra choline inname tijdens het laatste trimester van de zwangerschap epigenetische veranderingen teweeg brengt waardor de baby’s later in hun leven veel minder kans hebben op het krijgen van div. ziektes zoals hoge bloeddruk en diabetes. 12 weken lang kregen zwangere vrouwen of de normale hoeveelheid choline (480 mg/dag) of 930 mg/dag. Door de extra inname bleek door methylatie epigenitsche veranderingen op te treden bij de genen die betrokken zijn bij de cortisol aanmaak, waardoor de baby’s wel 33% lagere cortisolwaarden hadden. Lagere cortisolwaarden betekent minder kans op stress gerelateerde ziektes als hoge bloeddruk en diabetes.
Choline Consumption During Pregnancy May 'Program' Healthier Babies
Pregnant women may have added incentive to bulk up on broccoli and eggs now that a Cornell University study has found increased maternal intake of the nutrient choline could decrease their children's chances of developing hypertension and diabetes later in life. 
In a study led by Marie Caudill, associate professor of nutritional sciences, and graduate student Xinyin Jiang, a group of third-trimester pregnant women consumed 930 milligrams of choline, more than double the recommended 450 milligram daily intake. The result for their babies was 33 percent lower concentrations of cortisol - a hormone produced in response to stress that also increases blood sugar - compared to those from a control group of women who consumed about 480 milligrams of choline. 
Caudill believes this happened because the choline changed the expression patterns of genes involved in cortisol production. The work, published online in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, is the first human study to suggest a role for choline in the "programming" of key biological processes in the baby. 
"The study findings raise the exciting possibility that a higher maternal choline intake may counter some of the adverse effects of prenatal stress on behavioral, neuroendocrine and metabolic development in the offspring," Caudill said. 
This could be especially useful for women experiencing anxiety and depression during their pregnancy, as well as conditions such as pre-eclampsia. 
"A dampening of the baby's response to stress as a result of mom consuming extra choline during pregnancy would be expected to reduce the risk of stress-related diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes throughout the life of the child," she added. 
She said additional studies are needed to confirm the study findings and further explore long-term effects. Dietary sources of choline include egg yolks, beef, pork, chicken, milk, legumes and some vegetables. Most prenatal vitamin supplements do not include choline. 
"We hope that our data will inform the development of choline intake recommendations for pregnant women that ensure optimal fetal development and reduce the risk of stress-related diseases," Caudill said. 
The in utero availability of methyl donors, such as choline, may modify fetal epigenetic marks and lead to sustainable functional alterations throughout the life course. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis regulates cortisol production and is sensitive to perinatal epigenetic programming. As an extension of a 12-wk dose-response choline feeding study conducted in third-trimester pregnant women, we investigated the effect of maternal choline intake (930 vs. 480 mg/d) on the epigenetic state of cortisol-regulating genes, and their expression, in placenta and cord venous blood. The higher maternal choline intake yielded higher placental promoter methylation of the cortisol-regulating genes, corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH; P=0.05) and glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1; P=0.002); lower placental CRH transcript abundance (P=0.04); lower cord blood leukocyte promoter methylation of CRH (P=0.05) and NR3C1 (P=0.04); and 33% lower (P=0.07) cord plasma cortisol. In addition, placental global DNA methylation and dimethylated histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3K9me2) were higher (P=0.02) in the 930 mg choline/d group, as was the expression of select placental methyltransferases. These data collectively suggest that maternal choline intake in humans modulates the epigenetic state of genes that regulate fetal HPA axis reactivity as well as the epigenomic status of fetal derived tissues.—Jiang, X., Yan, J., West, A. A., Perry, C. A., Malysheva, O. V., Devapatla, S., Pressman, E., Vermeylen, F., Caudill, M. A. Maternal choline intake alters the epigenetic state of fetal cortisol-regulating genes in humans. (Augustus 2012)