Special Issue "Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Clinical Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Cristina Campoy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
"Infant Nutrition and Metabolism Research Group" (PAI-CTS-187). EURISTIKOS Excellence Centre for Paediatric Research. Department of Paediatrics. School of Medicine. University of Granada. Spain
Interests: Early nutrition and metabolic programming; Neurodevelopment and brain structure and function; Gut microbiota and gut–brain axis; Obesity; Diabetes; Human milk and infant formulas; Metabolomics; Epigenetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Luis A. Moreno
grade E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
“Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development” (GENUD) Research Group, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: pediatric nutrition; childhood obesity; body composition; nutritional status; nutritional epidemiology; lifestyle behaviors
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Nutrients is focused on the “Role of nutrition during early life on the re-programming of long-term health and disease”. The first 1000 days of life cover different critical periods for growth and development. During these critical days, the exposure to deficit or excess of several functional nutrients will impact the programming of organs and the development of metabolic systems. These exposures can alter the child’s health trajectory and impact the risk for impaired growth and cognition, neuropsychiatric illnesses, cardiometabolic or immune-system-associated diseases, and diminish the abilities of the offspring to contribute to society in later life. Recent human milk metabolomic, immunological, and microbiome approaches are increasing the knowledge about its composition, but also about its functional effects on the baby. Furthermore, human milk composition variability is determined by many genetic, metabolic, and environmental factors. As a gold standard, human milk is being considered the baseline for infant formula improvements; many new bioactive compounds present in human milk, such as milk fat globule membrane components, pre- and probiotics, human milk oligosaccharides, and osteopontin, are being intensively investigated to understand their role during early life. Complementary feeding also represents a window of opportunity to re-program some mis-programming consequences after several exposures during critical windows. Recent studies are leading to the establishment of growth and neurodevelopmental patterns associated to specific exposures. It is important to highlight that several pathological situations such as prematurity or low birth weight are already models of mal-programming, and need special attention regarding the development of an individualized nutrition. One of the most important challenges will be to define the best personalized nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers, infants, and toddlers, aiming to achieve optimal growth, neurodevelopment, and brain functioning. Finally, special interest is developing regarding the gut–brain axis or the immune system development during early life in relation to the increase of allergic, inflammatory, and immune diseases all over the world. In this Special Issue, we aim to: 1) update the current knowledge and new data regarding origins of health and disease, aiming to design individual nutritional interventions; and 2) present novel approaches and data trying to optimize health trajectories and prevent non-communicable and neuropsychiatric disorders in later life and across generations.

Submissions may include original research, narrative reviews, and systematic reviews. We are interested in highlighting data from novel intervention studies that target key windows where nutrition has the greatest influence on future health (preconception, prenatal, and postnatal periods), explore how new functional components may re-program the risk of disease in specially vulnerable populations, and that update the approaches for individualized nutrition.

Prof. Cristina Campoy
Prof. Luis A. Moreno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • early nutrition re-programming
  • human milk bioactive compounds
  • maternal and infant personalized nutrition
  • metabolomics in infant nutrition
  • infant gut microbiota
  • brain and immune system development

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Self-Reported DHA Supplementation during Pregnancy and Its Association with Obesity or Gestational Diabetes in Relation to DHA Concentration in Cord and Maternal Plasma: Results from NELA, a Prospective Mother-Offspring Cohort
Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 843; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13030843 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
Maternal supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during pregnancy has been recommended due to its role in infant development, but its effect on materno-fetal DHA status is not well established. We evaluated the associations between DHA supplementation in pregnant women with obesity or gestational [...] Read more.
Maternal supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during pregnancy has been recommended due to its role in infant development, but its effect on materno-fetal DHA status is not well established. We evaluated the associations between DHA supplementation in pregnant women with obesity or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and maternal and neonatal DHA status. Serum fatty acids (FA) were analyzed in 641 pregnant women (24 weeks of gestation) and in 345 venous and 166 arterial cord blood samples of participants of the NELA cohort. Obese women (n = 47) presented lower DHA in serum than those lean (n = 397) or overweight (n = 116) before pregnancy. Linoleic acid in arterial cord was elevated in obese women, which indicates lower fetal retention. Maternal DHA supplementation (200 mg/d) during pregnancy was associated with enhanced maternal and fetal DHA levels regardless of pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), although higher arterial DHA in overweight women indicated an attenuated response. Maternal DHA supplementation was not associated with cord venous DHA in neonates of mothers with GDM. The cord arteriovenous difference was similar for DHA between GDM and controls. In conclusion, maternal DHA supplementation during pregnancy enhanced fetal DHA status regardless of the pre-pregnancy BMI while GDM may reduce the effect of DHA supplementation in newborns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Article
The Effects of an Infant Formula Enriched with Milk Fat Globule Membrane, Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Synbiotics on Child Behavior up to 2.5 Years Old: The COGNIS Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(12), 3825; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu12123825 - 15 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1538
Abstract
Although early life nutrition influences brain development and mental health, the long-term effects of supplemented infant formula on children´s behavior remain unclear. We analyzed the effects of a bioactive nutrients-enriched-infant formula on children’s behavior up to 2.5 years, compared to a standard infant [...] Read more.
Although early life nutrition influences brain development and mental health, the long-term effects of supplemented infant formula on children´s behavior remain unclear. We analyzed the effects of a bioactive nutrients-enriched-infant formula on children’s behavior up to 2.5 years, compared to a standard infant formula or breastfeeding. Current analysis involved 70 children who were fed a standard infant formula (SF, n = 29) or a bioactive compounds enriched-infant formula (EF, n = 41), during their first 18 months of life, and 33 breastfed (BF) children (reference group) participating in the COGNIS study. Behavioral problems were evaluated using the Child Behavior Checklist at 18 months and 2.5 years. Different statistical analyses were performed using SPSS. EF children aged 2.5 years presented fewer pathological affective problems than SF children. Besides, SF children were classified more frequently as bordering on internalizing problems than BF children. Rates of externalizing problems were increased in SF infants compared to EF and BF infants. Higher maternal IQ was found to have beneficial effects on internalizing and total problem rate in their offspring at 18 months of life; finally, higher maternal educational level was related with fewer ADHD problems in children at 18 months, as well as internalizing, externalizing, total and anxiety problems in children aged 2.5 years. Our analysis suggests that enriched infant formula fed infants seem to show fewer behavioral problems up to 2.5 years compared to a standard infant formula-fed infants. In addition to type of early feeding, maternal IQ and educational level seem to play a key role on children behavioral development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Article
Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis CECT7210 (B. infantis IM-1®) Displays In Vitro Activity against Some Intestinal Pathogens
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3259; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu12113259 - 24 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1398
Abstract
Certain non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDO) are specifically fermented by bifidobacteria along the human gastrointestinal tract, selectively favoring their growth and the production of health-promoting metabolites. In the present study, the ability of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis CECT7210 (herein referred to as [...] Read more.
Certain non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDO) are specifically fermented by bifidobacteria along the human gastrointestinal tract, selectively favoring their growth and the production of health-promoting metabolites. In the present study, the ability of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis CECT7210 (herein referred to as B. infantis IM-1®) to utilize a large range of oligosaccharides, or a mixture of oligosaccharides, was investigated. The strain was able to utilize all prebiotics screened. However, galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and GOS-containing mixtures, effectively increased its growth to a higher extent than the other prebiotics. The best synbiotic combination was used to examine the antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Cronobacter sakazakii, Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium difficile in co-culture experiments. C. difficile was inhibited by the synbiotic, but it failed to inhibit E. coli. Moreover, Cr. sakazakii growth decreased during co-culture with B. infantis IM-1®. Furthermore, adhesion experiments using the intestinal cell line HT29 showed that the strain IM-1® was able to displace some pathogens from the enterocyte layer, especially Cr. sakazakii and Salmonella enterica, and prevented the adhesion of Cr. sakazakii and Shigella sonnei. In conclusion, a new synbiotic (probiotic strain B. infantis IM-1® and GOS) appears to be a potential effective supplement for maintaining infant health. However, further studies are needed to go more deeply into the mechanisms that allow B.infantis IM-1® to compete with enteropathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Article
Rapid Weight Gain, Infant Feeding Practices, and Subsequent Body Mass Index Trajectories: The CALINA Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 3178; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu12103178 - 17 Oct 2020
Viewed by 972
Abstract
We aimed to study growth patterns according to rapid weight gain (RWG) and infant feeding practices during the first 120 days and whether infant feeding practices mediated the association between RWG in the first semester of life and subsequent body mass index (BMI) [...] Read more.
We aimed to study growth patterns according to rapid weight gain (RWG) and infant feeding practices during the first 120 days and whether infant feeding practices mediated the association between RWG in the first semester of life and subsequent body mass index (BMI) z-score in children from age 1 to 6. (1) Methods: 862 children from the Growth and Feeding during Lactation and Early Childhood in Children of Aragon study (CALINA in Spanish) were examined. Repeated-measures ANOVA analyses were conducted to assess growth trajectories according to RWG and type of feeding practice. The product of coefficients mediation method was used to assess the potential contribution of infant feeding practices to the association between RWG and BMI z-score. Mediation models were conducted using IBM SPSS-PROCESS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. (2) Results: BMI and weight z-score trajectories were significantly higher in the RWG group and the formula-fed group. No significant differences were found regarding height. Infant feeding practices did not mediate the association between RWG and BMI z-score but were associated with BMI at 6 years. (3) Conclusions: Infant feeding practices and RWG determine different growth trajectories of BMI and weight during childhood. Although infant feeding practices did not mediate the association between early RWG and BMI later in life, formula feeding is independently related to higher BMI growth patterns later in childhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Article
Impact of Treatment with RUTF on Plasma Lipid Profiles of Severely Malnourished Pakistani Children
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 2163; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu12072163 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1491
Abstract
(1) Background: Little is known on impacts of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) treatment on lipid metabolism in children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM). (2) Methods: We analyzed glycerophospholipid fatty acids (FA) and polar lipids in plasma of 41 Pakistani children with SAM before [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Little is known on impacts of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) treatment on lipid metabolism in children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM). (2) Methods: We analyzed glycerophospholipid fatty acids (FA) and polar lipids in plasma of 41 Pakistani children with SAM before and after 3 months of RUTF treatment using gas chromatography and flow-injection analysis tandem mass spectrometry, respectively. Statistical analysis was performed using univariate, multivariate tests and evaluated for the impact of age, sex, breastfeeding status, hemoglobin, and anthropometry. (3) Results: Essential fatty acid (EFA) depletion at baseline was corrected by RUTF treatment which increased EFA. In addition, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) and the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA)/linoleic acid increased reflecting greater EFA conversion to LC-PUFA, whereas Mead acid/AA decreased. Among phospholipids, lysophosphatidylcholines (lyso.PC) were most impacted by treatment; in particular, saturated lyso.PC decreased. Higher child age and breastfeeding were associated with great decrease in total saturated FA (ΣSFA) and lesser decrease in monounsaturated FA and total phosphatidylcholines (ΣPC). Conclusions: RUTF treatment improves EFA deficiency in SAM, appears to enhance EFA conversion to biologically active LC-PUFA, and reduces lipolysis reflected in decreased ΣSFA and saturated lyso.PC. Child age and breastfeeding modify treatment-induced changes in ΣSFA and ΣPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Article
Early Nutrition eAcademy Southeast Asia e-Learning for Enhancing Knowledge on Nutrition during the First 1000 Days of Life
Nutrients 2020, 12(6), 1817; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu12061817 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
Background: The double burden of both under- and overnutrition during the first 1000 days is highly prevalent in Southeast Asia (SEA), with major implications for lifelong health. Tackling this burden requires healthcare professionals (HCPs) to acquire evidence-based current knowledge and counselling skills. We [...] Read more.
Background: The double burden of both under- and overnutrition during the first 1000 days is highly prevalent in Southeast Asia (SEA), with major implications for lifelong health. Tackling this burden requires healthcare professionals (HCPs) to acquire evidence-based current knowledge and counselling skills. We assessed the needs of HCPs in SEA and developed a continuing medical education/professional development (CME/CPD) program using an e-learning platform to reduce existing gaps. Methods: European, Thai and Malaysian universities collaborated with SEA national nutrition associations in the Early Nutrition eAcademy Southeast Asia (ENeA SEA) project. We assessed HCPs’ needs using questionnaires and mapped CME/CPD programmes and regulations through stakeholder questionnaires. Using a co-creation approach, we established an e-learning platform. Evaluation in users was undertaken using questionnaires. Results: HCPs in SEA reported major training gaps relating to the first 1000 days of nutrition and limited impact of existing face-to-face training. Existing pre/postgraduate, residency and CME/CPD programmes did not adequately address the topic. To address these gaps, we produced a targeted e-learning platform with six modules and CME-tests. National ministries, Thai and Malaysian universities, and professional associations endorsed the training platform. To date, over 2600 HCPs have registered. Evaluation shows high acceptance and a very positive assessment. Conclusions: Dedicated e-learning can reduce major gaps in HCP training in SEA regarding nutrition during the first 1000 days of life at scale and is highly valued by both users and key stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Review

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Review
Baby-Led Weaning: What Role Does It Play in Obesity Risk during the First Years? A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 1009; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13031009 - 21 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1304
Abstract
Childhood is a window of opportunity for the prevention of the obesity pandemic. Since “the first 1000 days of life” is a period in which healthy eating habits must be acquired, it should be the target for preventive strategies. Baby-led weaning (BLW) is [...] Read more.
Childhood is a window of opportunity for the prevention of the obesity pandemic. Since “the first 1000 days of life” is a period in which healthy eating habits must be acquired, it should be the target for preventive strategies. Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an emergent way of weaning that could influence children’s health. The nutrition committees of the main pediatric societies affirm there is not enough evidence to support which is the best method of weaning. The aim was to determinate the influence of BLW on the infant’s weight gain compared to the traditional spoon-feeding, and to assess if it could decrease the risk of obesity in children. A systematic review was conducted, following the PRISMA method. Pubmed, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane Library were searched. Out of 747 articles, eight studies (2875 total infants) were included (two randomized control trials, 6 observational studies). Results were indecisive, while some studies seem to demonstrate lower weight gain in infants that apply BLW, others show inconclusive results. The risk of bias in all included studies was moderate or high. In conclusion, more clinical trials and prospective studies should be done prior to providing a general recommendation about the best method of weaning to reduce the risk of obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Review
Priming for Life: Early Life Nutrition and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 423; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13020423 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4378
Abstract
Microbes colonize the human body during the first moments of life and coexist with the host throughout the lifespan. Intestinal microbiota and their metabolites aid in the programming of important bodily systems such as the immune and the central nervous system during critical [...] Read more.
Microbes colonize the human body during the first moments of life and coexist with the host throughout the lifespan. Intestinal microbiota and their metabolites aid in the programming of important bodily systems such as the immune and the central nervous system during critical temporal windows of development, with possible structural and functional implications throughout the lifespan. These critical developmental windows perinatally (during the first 1000 days) are susceptible timepoints for insults that can endure long lasting effects on the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Environmental and parental factors like host genetics, mental health, nutrition, delivery and feeding mode, exposure to antibiotics, immune activation and microbiota composition antenatally, are all factors that are able to modulate the microbiota composition of mother and infant and may thus regulate important bodily functions. Among all these factors, early life nutrition plays a pivotal role in perinatal programming and in the modulation of offspring microbiota from birth throughout lifespan. This review aims to present current data on the impact of early life nutrition and microbiota priming of important bodily systems and all the factors influencing the microbial coexistence with the host during early life development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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Review
Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (LCPUFAs) and the Developing Immune System: A Narrative Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 247; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13010247 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2113
Abstract
The immune system is complex: it involves many cell types and numerous chemical mediators. An immature immune response increases susceptibility to infection, whilst imbalances amongst immune components leading to loss of tolerance can result in immune-mediated diseases including food allergies. Babies are born [...] Read more.
The immune system is complex: it involves many cell types and numerous chemical mediators. An immature immune response increases susceptibility to infection, whilst imbalances amongst immune components leading to loss of tolerance can result in immune-mediated diseases including food allergies. Babies are born with an immature immune response. The immune system develops in early life and breast feeding promotes immune maturation and protects against infections and may protect against allergies. The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered to be important components of breast milk. AA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA are also present in the membranes of cells of the immune system and act through multiple interacting mechanisms to influence immune function. The effects of AA and of mediators derived from AA are often different from the effects of the n-3 LCPUFAs (i.e., EPA and DHA) and of mediators derived from them. Studies of supplemental n-3 LCPUFAs in pregnant women show some effects on cord blood immune cells and their responses. These studies also demonstrate reduced sensitisation of infants to egg, reduced risk and severity of atopic dermatitis in the first year of life, and reduced persistent wheeze and asthma at ages 3 to 5 years, especially in children of mothers with low habitual intake of n-3 LCPUFAs. Immune markers in preterm and term infants fed formula with AA and DHA were similar to those in infants fed human milk, whereas those in infants fed formula without LCPUFAs were not. Infants who received formula plus LCPUFAs (both AA and DHA) showed a reduced risk of allergic disease and respiratory illness than infants who received standard formula. Studies in which infants received n-3 LCPUFAs report immune differences from controls that suggest better immune maturation and they show lower risk of allergic disease and respiratory illness over the first years of life. Taken together, these findings suggest that LCPUFAs play a role in immune development that is of clinical significance, particularly with regard to allergic sensitisation and allergic manifestations including wheeze and asthma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
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