Optimal intake of certain vitamins might offset the harmful effects of early-life stress, according to a study from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. In this study on mice, the researchers mimicked a stressful early-life environment during the first weeks after birth. Control mice and their mothers were housed in a normal environment. During the stressful period, half of the other mothers received a standard rodent diet and the other half received a diet supplemented with methionine, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12. At four months of age, the offspring were tested on learning and memory. Results showed that mice exposed to early-life stress performed worse than control animals and demonstrated poor learning and memory skills. However, stress-exposed mice from mothers that received the supplemented diet performed equally well as did the control mice. The authors conclude that, “…this study contributes novel nutritional strategies that help prevent lasting consequences of a stressful childhood on later mental health.”
Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D.
Naninck E, Oosterink J, Yam K, et al: Early micronutrient supplementation protects against early stress-induced cognitive impairments. FASEB Journal 2016; October 26th.