During pregnancy, mothers often fret over the health of their unborn children. They make sure to eat right and exercise, ensuring baby emerges optimally healthy. Some benefits of mom’s hard work are readily apparent: healthy skin, active eyes, a good skeleton, etc. However, there is evidence that mom’s diet may have far-reaching, long-lasting effects on baby’s health.
According to a Canadian study published in Acta Neuropathologica, in utero vitamin A may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease later on, way later on. The scientists looked at genetically modified mice. Some of the mice were deprived of vitamin A when they were in the womb, others were deprived shortly after they were born, another group was given supplements and a final group just ate a normal, boring mouse diet.
The mice that were deprived of vitamin A performed worse on memory and learning tests when they were full-grown. Additionally, there was evidence that in utero vitamin-A deprivation had long-term effects even if they were given vitamin A supplements after being born. The good news is that some of the negative effects were reversible when vitamin A was introduced into their diets later.
Additionally, vitamin A deficiency was linked to an increase in a protein (amyloid beta) associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers also looked at 330 elderly Chinese subjects and found that three quarters of those subjects who were vitamin A deficient were also afflicted with cognitive impairment. Less than half of those with adequate vitamin A levels suffered from similar impairment. Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the west, and it it always best to get vitamin A from dietary sources, like carrots or carrot juice or barley grass juice.
AIM’s Just Carrots provides 420% of your daily vitamin A (from beta-carotene) in every serving and unlike vitamin A supplements, beta-carotene is nontoxic. It might strengthen your immune system, however.