Heart disease is one of the most dangerous illnesses in North America. To put it to perspective, one out of 3 people in North America die from heart disease-related issues. The North American industry for heart disease treatment is worth $130 billion annually. In other words, heart disease is a major issue in the U.S and thus the need to have a handle on it.
Can the heart disease problem be tackled before birth?
If you wish to solve a problem, the best approach is to understand the problem, and that creates a path that can be followed towards a solution to that problem. In most cases, the solution is treatment, but it is often better to prevent the problem so that it never occurs. This is what scientists have been working on. To be specific, Cambridge University researchers have been investigating using an antioxidant called MitoQ as their tool for combating heart disease.
The idea is that when given to fetuses, MitoQ has the potential to prevent heart diseases at later stages in life. The idea is based on findings from research where they gave MitoQ to pregnant sheep, and over time, the results showed that the offspring of the sheep fed with the antioxidant were less prone to heart disease later in their lives.
Our biological mechanisms have antioxidant mechanisms that are designed to help increase the chances of survival. Subjects exposed to more oxidants at the fetal stage are more prone to illnesses such as heart disease later on in life. MitoQ can help the antioxidant mechanisms in fetuses be more efficient, increasing their ability to combat illnesses such as heart disease when they reach an age where such illnesses have a higher potential of manifesting.
The effects of such studies can have far-reaching consequences. For example, if oxidants during the fetal stage can affect an individual at later stages in life, they can potentially cause numerous health conditions. If this is the case, then the giving antioxidants to pregnant mothers could potentially prevent the occurrence of those health conditions.