Micronutrients and Brain Development
Purpose of Review
This review summarizes the most recent evidence regarding the effects of micronutrients on brain development.
Emerging evidence indicates that nutrition in the early life can profoundly influence neurodevelopment, affecting later life health outcomes, neurocognitive performances, and disease risks. Inadequate early life nutrition has been associated with some neuropsychiatric disorders. Epigenetic mechanisms could play a crucial role, imprinting the genomes in early life making the individual more susceptible to develop diseases later in life.
Children adequately nourished are more likely to reach their developmental potential in cognitive, motor, and socioemotional abilities, with positive societal repercussions. Data from further clinical trials are needed before more definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the efficacy of dietary interventions for improving neurocognitive and social outcomes and preventing some neuropsychiatric illnesses. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to make recommendations to our patients to adopt certain dietary habits to optimize early life nutritional status in order to avoid long-term adverse consequences. Strategies of prevention should focus on ensuring more quality food to preconceptional, pregnant, lactating women and to children in their early life, not only in those areas where malnutrition is common but also in developed countries.
KeywordsFirst 1000 days Brain development Neurodevelopment Micronutrients Micronutrient deficiencies Iron Iodine Zinc Epigenetics Neurocognitive performances Neuropsychiatric diseases
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Davide Mattei and Angelo Pietrobelli declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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