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Eating protein for a pregnant woman may affect the baby's face

Eating protein for a pregnant woman may affect the baby's face

in New study Led by the University of Gothenburg and published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers concluded that diet during pregnancy, especially protein intake, appears to play a role in the development of facial features.

By studying the mechanisms that influence facial bone structure at the embryonic stage, the research group led by Andrei Chagin, professor of molecular medicine, was able to show that a specific signaling pathway in cells, called mTOR, plays a role when the facial skeleton is forming.

MTOR is specifically activated by amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.

Want to investigate the importance of diet

After seeing that mTOR affects facial bone structure in humans, mice, and zebrafish, the researchers wanted to investigate whether the protein content of the diet during pregnancy would affect mTOR and, in turn, facial bone structure. The study was conducted on pregnant mice, which were fed different diets containing high protein. In newborn mice, differences were seen, although minor. Pups from mothers fed a high-protein diet had enlarged nasal cavities, while mice fed a low-protein diet had pups with longer jaws.

What do the results mean for people?

Does the same apply to humans? It is not possible to determine the effect of different high-protein diets during pregnancy on humans. The purpose of the study was to attempt to contribute to the development of methods for preventing and treating congenital facial deformities in the future, as well as providing more knowledge about what constitutes a good diet during pregnancy.

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The results underscore the crucial importance of maintaining a balanced diet during pregnancy, with particular attention to protein intake. The insights open new ways to understand the complex interplay between genetics, lifestyle and the formation of our unique facial features, concludes Andrei Shagin. In a press release.