credit: Yvonne Lamers

The EpiBrain Project is a transnational collaboration among researchers in Canada, Northern Ireland and Spain investigating nutrition and the epigenome in early life and older age in relation to brain health.  

credit: Tijana -

Folate and other B-vitamins, collectively referred to as methyl nutrients have been associated with brain health across the lifespan. While the underlying mechanism for this association is unclear, it has been suggested that epigenetics may play a role. Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, regulate gene expression without altering the DNA sequence and these DNA methylation reactions depend on methyl nutrients for the formation of methyl groups in one-carbon metabolism. Maternal prenatal nutrition may program the developing brain via DNA methylation, thus influencing brain function in early and later life.  

"Transatlantic Folic Acid Gradient"

The EpiBrain project is a secondary analysis of data from Canada, Ireland and Spain, countries with different exposures to folic acid (synthetic form of folate) through supplementation and food fortification.

Project Objectives

The EpiBrain Project aims to investigate nutrition-epigenetic relationships and their associations with brain function focusing on:  

(1) Early exposure to maternal methyl nutrients in utero, cord/infant DNA methylation and neurodevelopment in early stages of life. 

(2) The potential protective role of B-vitamins against cognitive decline in later life. 

(3) Whether the nutrition-epigenetic relationship affecting neurodevelopment in early life is also related to cognitive function in later life.

Funding Organizations