Disruption to prenatal nutrient supply could lead to anxiety later in life

A study published by British researchers earlier this month in Nature Communications found a link between nutrient supply to foetuses in utero and anxiety later in life.

Researchers studied mice that lacked the ability to produce enough Insulin-like growth factor 2 while pregnant. This hormone ensures the foetus gets enough nutrients through the placenta, thereby contributing to its growth.

Mothers that didn’t produce enough of the hormone had an imbalance in their nutrient supply. Their babies subsequently became more anxious when performing maze tests or being placed in new environments as adults.

Researchers hope to next investigate the disruption of nutrient supply in terms of metabolites leading to altered brain systems.