Claus Muss
International Scientific Group of Applied Preventive Medicine (I-GAP), Research Center and Laboratory, Vienna, Austria

Korespondenční autor: Claus Muss (

ISSN 1804-7181 (On-line)

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Submitted:11. 10. 2011
Published online: 15. 12. 2011


It is well documented that malnutrition in pregnancy is of increasing concern in both the developing and developed world, resulting in poor health of children. Various serious diseases in childhood have been attributed to malnutrition in maternity. Latest research links maternal malnutrition with dysfunction of the higher brain in children. It has been hypothesised from animal trials, that prenatal nutrition has a strong impact on the neurological development of the infant. Especially the content of unsaturated fats and certain phospholipids seem to be essential for the cerebral function of the foetus. There is a strong body of evidence pointing especially to omega 3 fatty acids and choline as one very necessary nutritional component in pregnancy. The consumption of omega 3 in fish has been under controversial discussion because of methyl mercury which can induce food poisonings also affecting the unbo0rn child. Evidently mother’s nutrition is effecting the development of the child even after parturition. However little is only known about the definite supply with choline in different stages of human pregnancy. Considering factors socioeconomically, it can be assumed that choline supply in pregnant woman presently does not meet the required amount for a development of higher brain structures in children. This certainly applies to developing countries with a higher proportion of poverty and malnutrition in low-income households. Epidemiological data has shown, that in so called developed countries such as in Europe or United States the content of choline in prenatal diets is not balanced enough to reach the requirements of the unborn child fully.

From this point of view the prevention of prenatal malnutrition is a main subject for public health concern. We recommend revising the rationale for recommending certain dietary supplements in pregnancy and breastfeeding wo­men.

Keywords: nutrition in pregnancy; impact of malnutrition on intelligence in children; stimulating components in food for the development of intelligence; omega 3 and choline and cerebral development


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