B vitamins in mother' diet
cut kid's gut cancer risk
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Experiments on mice show
that those born to mothers fed a diet supplemented with B vitamins are less
likely to develop gut tumours.
Previous research in humans and mice suggests that B vitamins, particularly
folate, play a role in the prevention of colorectal (gut) cancer. Colorectal
cancer, less formally known as bowel cancer, is a cancer characterized by
neoplasia in the colon, rectum, or vermiform appendix. Colorectal cancer is
clinically distinct from anal cancer, which affects the anus.
Using a mouse model of naturally occurring colorectal cancer, Human Nutrition
Research Centre on Aging (HNRCA) scientists at Tufts University, examined
whether a mothers' B vitamin intake affects her offspring's cancer risk, the
journal Gut reports.
Mothers were fed diets containing supplemental, adequate or mildly deficient
quantities of vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folate prior to conception through
weaning after which all of the offspring received the same adequate diet,
according to a Tufts statement.
"We saw, by far, the fewest intestinal tumours in the offspring of mothers
consuming the supplemented diet," said Jimmy Crott, senior study author at the
"Fifty four percent of tumours in the deficient offspring were advanced and had
invaded surrounding tissue while only 18 percent of tumours in the offspring of
adequate mothers displayed these aggressive properties," he added.
Crott and colleagues linked the tumour suppression seen in the offspring of
supplemented mothers with a protection against disruptions to the Wnt signaling
pathway, a network of genes commonly altered in colorectal cancer.
"The strongest expression of tumour-suppressing genes in the Wnt pathway was in
the offspring of supplemented mothers and the weakest was in the offspring of
the mildly deficient mothers," said study co-author Eric Ciappio, doctoral
candidate in nutrition at Tufts.
( Courtesy: IANS ,
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