Summary of project:
Low or imbalanced dietary and biomarker status of folate and interrelated B-vitamins (methyl donor nutrients) perturb 1-carbon metabolism, and adversely affect brain development in early life and brain function in later life. Human studies show that improved maternal folate status during pregnancy is associated with improved cognition in the offspring, whilst optimal folate and related B-vitamin status may prevent cognitive decline in later life. The biological mechanisms explaining these relationships are not clear but may involve DNA methylation of epigenetically-controlled genes related to brain development and function. A better understanding of the mechanisms linking relevant B-vitamins and the epigenome with brain health at critical stages of the lifecycle is necessary to support evidence-based health improvement strategies. The EpiBrain project aims to investigate the nutrition-epigenome-brain relationship across the lifespan, focusing on methyl donor nutrients and their related epigenetic effects in relation to brain outcomes.