Some people may be more likely to develop anxiety and depression because their mothers lacked a natural barrier to protect them from stress while they were in the womb.
Scientists have discovered an enzyme present in the womb and in babies’ brains that appears to protect them from high levels of their mother’s stress hormone, cortisol.
But for some women, this natural defence is faulty or lacking, due to their genes or certain diets. One ingredient that has shown to have an impact is liquorice.
The good news is that researchers have also found an molecule in the blood which indicates if a baby has been exposed to high levels of stress while in the mother’s womb, meaning doctors can spot who is likely to suffer from these conditions later in life.