Episode 5 Dr. Asli Akyol talks about the importance of protein quality over quantity during fetal development

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Dr. Asli Akyol

Dr. Asli Akyol is an Associate Professor at Hacettepe University in Ankara Turkey. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry through her research study titled: The effects of cafeteria diet feeding on maternal adaptation to pregnancy, fetal growth & development, and glucose homeostasis later in life. In addition, she has eight publications focusing on nutrition and early life exposure to maternal diet.

Dr. Asli Akyol answers the following questions:

  1. For those tuning in who may not know of you yet, please tell them about your passion and why you chose a field in Diabetology, Nutritional Biochemistry, Nutrition and Dietetics to express this passion
  2. I read your study titled Maternal Low-Quality Protein Diet Alters Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations of Weaning Rats. Which is the first study comparing the influence of dietary protein on offspring amino acids within the field of fetal programming, correct?
    1. May you please explain why you chose to further investigate how the quality of protein alters plasma amino acids?
  3. How long did it take to conduct this study from the start of the idea to publication of the results?
  4. May you share with us what you discovered from this study?
  5. In the study, it was identified that there was a significant decrease in the maternal wheat gluten group’s overall energy intake during gestation and lactation combined. It was stated: “This effect appeared to initiate at the end of the second week of gestation. The decline in voluntary food intake as a result of low-quality protein diet feeding can be explained by alterations in the central nervous system since the central nervous system, and histamine receptors have been shown to be affected by dietary protein quality manipulations.”
    1. May you explain what the alterations are that take place in the central nervous system because of low-quality protein?
    2. May you also explain how the decrease in energy intake combined with the low-quality protein could affect the development of the offspring?
  1. In the study, it was also stated:“It is has been shown that deficiency of maternal methyl donors during pregnancy and lactation can be responsible for altered epigenetics, metabolism and cognitive function in offspring. More specifically, histotroph, which provides additional nutrients in the form of uterine secretions to developing offspring, includes serine along with other amino acids such as methionine. Therefore, inadequate maternal serine can be a risk factor for long-term consequences for the health of the fetus.”
    1. May you explain to those tuning in why a deficiency of methyl donors could be responsible for altered epigenetics, metabolism, and cognitive function?
    2. May you also explain what the potential long-term consequences for the fetus could potentially be?
  1. What were the study limitations?
  2. Are you working on a study to expand upon this one in the near future or is there one already out there that we may discuss on another interview?
  3. How do the discoveries made from this animal study relate to humans?
  4. What change would you like to see come from this research study?
  5. What do you want community leaders, to take away from this study?
  6. What do you want planning and expecting parents to take away from this study?

Research study discussed in the episode:

Maternal Low-Quality Protein Diet Alters Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations of Weaning Rats

To get in touch with Dr. Asli Akyol: asli.akyol@hacettepe.edu.tr

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Alright, now that everything has been covered head over to iTunes, Stitcher, or listen directly from the website to all five episodes and tune in again on Monday Septemeber 5 for the newest episode with Dr. Jillian Sarno-Teta.

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