Dr. Michael Georgieff joins me to discuss the role of iron in children and brain development. He shares how he got into medical research and his current medical profession.
His early experiences in medical school, particularly in neonatology, led him to realize the impact of external environmental factors such as healthy nutrition on children’s brain development.
He discusses the importance of fetal experience and the first 1000 days in the child’s brain development. Around 90 to 95 percent of the developing brain takes form during this critical period.
He talks about the significance of iron in several brain processes, namely neural coding, brain energy metabolism, dopamine synthesis, and gene regulation. Dr. Georgieff stresses that having fewer of these compromises the brain’s structure and function.
He describes the brain’s structure and how the lack of critical nutrients such as iron leads to detrimental long-term effects on a person’s mental health and well-being. Dr. Georgieff also talks about how much iron is needed across age groups and how it plays several critical roles outside our brain, particularly during pregnancy, early childhood, and adolescence.
He tackles the sources of iron that are beneficial for the developing child. He also touches upon the different studies tackling the relationship between iron and brain development.
Dr. Georgieff is a professor of pediatrics and child psychology and the director of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain at the University of Minnesota, specializing in fetal and neonatal nutrition, especially the effect of iron on brain development and cognitive function.
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What You’ll Learn About Iron in Children and Brain Development:
- Factors that affect brain development
- The role of iron in the first 1000 days of a child
- The plasticity of the human brain
- All about iron and acute deficiency
- The three pillars of child development needed for stimulating their cognitive/intellectual potential
- The biology behind the effects of iron deficiency
- Iron requirements from preconception to adolescence
- A closer look at iron deficiency in infants
- Latest developments in iron research
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