Can Fruits Magically Make Genius Babies? The Link Between Lycopene, Fructose Consumption During Pregnancy and Cognitive Development Examined

By Zee Mara, Parent Herald May 31, 09:09 am

Recent study explores the link between fruit consumption by a mother during pregnancy and the brain development of a fetus. Findings by researchers suggest that cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway activity as affected by fruit consumption plays a role in cognitive development.

Spectator reports that the study found that fruit and fruit juice intake only affects cognitive functions during gestation. After birth, fruit and fruit juice consumption by the offspring have no bearing on brain development.

The researchers based their findings on the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study data. Among the 808 one-year olds involved in the cognitive testing, an average difference of 2.38 points was displayed corresponding to each serving of fruit per day consumed by the mother during pregnancy.

According to the researchers, as cited from EBioMedicine via Science Direct, further analysis of nutrient content - lycopene in particular - evidenced detailed the perspective of the effect. A 0.14 increase in cognitive development in the baby was seen to correspond to every 1mg of lycopene consumed per day during pregnancy.

Besides lycopene content in the fruit, fructose also contributes to cognitive development. The researchers cited that for every 1 mg fructose intake increase a 0.06 point increase in development was seen.

The effect on the boosted cognitive development of the child is credited for the interaction between the nutrient intake and the cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway of the child at gestation. According to "Perspectives On Animal Behavior" by Judith Goodenough, Betty McGuire and Elizabeth Jakob, the cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) plays a key role in the learning and memory of an organism.

The study cautioned that separate research should be allocated for the impact on gestational diabetes risk and increasing fruit intake for the purpose of boosting cognitive development. Only My Health further cautions that fruit intake during pregnancy should also be careful and selective as certain fruits may have a negative effect on the pregnancy.

Spectator highlights that babies do not develop into geniuses by mere fruit consumption of the mother during pregnancy. At best, fruit intake gives the babies a leg up in brain development especially in the earliest years.

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