Aurélie Bourdon, "Citrulline, a supplement for improving growth in fragile babies?"

Fellow 2016 L'Oréal-Unesco For Women In Science, Aurélie Bourdon is working on citrulline in order to improve the growth of fragile babies.

Born prematurely or suffering from inter-uterine growth restriction, more than 20 million babies are born each year with a low birth weight, the main risk factor for neonatal mortality. This low weight is also associated with a greater risk of developing obesity, diabetes or cardio-vascular diseases as an adult. “Nutrition is the most important non-genetic factor for foetal growth and nutrition in the first months of life can have long-term effects on health. The aim of my research is to study the effects that a citrulline supplement can have on the new born, since this amino acid is known to improve the nutritional condition in certain situations of malnutrition”, explains Aurélie Bourdon, currently researching her PhD in the INRA Laboratory for the Physiology of Nutritional Adaptation, at the Université de Nantes. Two milk recipes, enriched either with citrulline or a placebo, will be administered in a inter-uterine growth restriction model. If the results of this research show that the citrulline supplement improves the nutritional state in the post-natal period, innovative strategies could be proposed for treating low birth weight babies in clinical trials.

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