DHA may offset impact of maternal stress on male embryos: Study

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While the underlying mechanisms for why these male-specific impacts are not clear, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders are taking a closer look at DHA. 

According to their research, published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences​, DHA may guard against the impact of maternal stress on males during early development in the womb.

“We believe differences in metabolic requirements for male and female embryos as early as the first trimester, combined with dynamic differences in the way the male and female placenta reacts to environmental factors, contributes to the increased risk for male neurodevelopmental disorders later in life,”​ explained senior author David Beversdorf, MD, a professor of radiology, neurology and psychology at MU.

Beversdorf told NutraIngredients-USA that diet may protect against at least one potential etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders, prenatal stress, which seems to preferentially impact males in this study, at least in their  mouse model.  “Thus, we are providing some support for a protective effect of diet in susceptible males.  The reason why certain neurodevelopmental disorders disproportionately affect males has been the subject of considerable discussion, and is not yet understood.”

The mouse model 

Beversdorf, along with principal investigator Eldin Jašarevic, PhD, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a team of researchers collaborated on the study, which involved 40 mice in four cohorts. 

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