Happy Fruit Citrus Vitamin C

A neuroscientist explains how diet can affect mood, behavior, and more

What we eat matters, and getting the right amount of essential nutrients is fundamental to our overall health.

During the long sea voyages of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a period known as era of discoveryand experienced sailors Visions of sublime foods and green fields. The discovery that these were nothing more than hallucinations after months at sea was heart-wrenching. While some sailors were weeping with longing, others threw themselves into the sea.

He suspected that the cure for these horrific mirages would be a concoction of complex chemicals. However, the antidote turned out to be very simple: lemon juice. These sailors Suffered from scurvyA disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that people gain from eating fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C is important To produce and release neurotransmittersThe chemical messengers used by the brain. Without it, brain cells do not communicate effectively with each other, which can lead to hallucinations.

As this famous example of early explorers demonstrates, there is a close relationship between food and the brain, which scientists like myself are working to unravel. as a scientist who studies nutritional neuroscience At the University of Michigan, I’m primarily interested in how food ingredients and products are modified and broken down Genetic instructions that control our physiology.

Moreover, another goal of my research is to understand how food can It affects our thoughts, moods, and behaviors. While we can’t yet prevent or treat brain conditions through diet, scientists like myself are learning a lot about the role that nutrition plays in the everyday brain processes that make us who we are.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a delicate balance of nutrients is key to brain health: a deficiency or excess of vitamins, sugars, fats, and

Amino acids
Amino acids are a group of organic compounds used to build proteins. There are about 500 known naturally occurring amino acids, although only 20 of them appear in the genetic code. Proteins are made of one or more chains of amino acids called polypeptides. The sequence of the amino acid chain causes the polypeptide to be flexed into a biologically active form. The amino acid sequences of proteins are encoded in genes. Nine protein amino acids called "Necessary" For humans because it cannot be produced by the human body from other compounds and so it must be eaten as food.

“data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{” attribute=””>amino acids can influence brain and behavior in either beneficial or detrimental ways.

Assorted Healthy Super Foods

Eating a complete diet that includes a balanced supply of all the essential vitamins and minerals is important for brain health.

Vitamins and mineral deficiencies

As with vitamin C, deficits in other vitamins and minerals can also lead to nutritional diseases that adversely impact the brain in humans. For instance, low dietary levels of vitamin B3/niacin – typically found in meat and fish – cause pellagra, a disease in which people develop dementia.

Niacin is essential for the body to turn food into energy and building blocks, protect the genetic blueprint from environmental damage, and control how much of certain gene products are made. In the absence of these critical processes, brain cells, also known as neurons, malfunction and die prematurely. This can lead to dementia.

In animal models, decreasing or blocking the production of niacin in the brain promotes neuronal damage and cell death. On the other hand, enhancing niacin levels has been shown to mitigate the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s. Although the results are still inconclusive, observational studies in humans indicate that sufficient levels of niacin may protect against these diseases.

Interestingly, niacin deficiency caused by excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to similar effects as those found with pellagra.

Another example of how a nutrient deficiency affects brain function can be found in the element iodine, which, like niacin, must be acquired from one’s diet. It is present naturally in seafood and seaweed, and can also be obtained through iodized salt. Iodine is an essential building block for thyroid hormones – signaling molecules that are important for many aspects of human biology, including development, metabolism, appetite, and sleep. Low iodine levels prevent the production of adequate amounts of thyroid hormones, impairing these essential physiological processes.

Iodine is particularly important to the developing human brain. In fact, before table salt was supplemented with this mineral in the 1920s, iodine deficiency was a major cause of cognitive disability worldwide. The introduction of iodized salt is thought to have contributed to the gradual rise in IQ scores in the past century.

Keto Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet may help people suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy.

Ketogenic diet for epilepsy

Not all dietary deficiencies are detrimental to the brain. In fact, research shows that people with drug-resistant epilepsy – a condition in which brain cells fire uncontrollably – can reduce the number of seizures by adopting an ultralow-carbohydrate regimen, known as a ketogenic diet, in which 80% to 90% of calories are obtained from fat.

Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the body. When they are not available – either because of fasting or because of a ketogenic diet – cells obtain fuel by breaking down fats into compounds called ketones. The utilization of ketones for energy leads to profound shifts in metabolism and physiology, including the levels of hormones circulating in the body, the amount of neurotransmitters produced by the brain, and the types of bacteria living in the gut.

Researchers think that these diet-dependent changes, especially the higher production of brain chemicals that can quiet down neurons and decrease levels of inflammatory molecules, may play a role in the ketogenic diet’s ability to lower the number of seizures. These changes may also explain the benefits of a ketogenic state – either through diet or fasting – on cognitive function and mood.

Certain foods can negatively affect your memory and mood.

Sugar, saturated fat, and ultra-processed foods

Excess levels of some nutrients can have harmful effects on the brain. In human and animal models, high refined consumption Sugars and saturated fats – A common blend in ultra-processed foods – encourages eating by sensitization The brain points to hormonal signals known to regulate feelings of fullness and satisfaction.

Interestingly enough, a diet rich in these foods also Desensitizes the taste systemThis causes animals and humans to perceive food as less sweet. These sensory changes may affect food choice as well as the reward we get from food. Research shows, for example, that people’s responses to ice cream are in areas of the brain Important for taste and reward Dull when they eat it every day for two weeks. Some scientists believe that this decrease in food reward signals may occur Increased cravings for more fatty and sugary foodssimilar to the way smokers crave cigarettes.

Diets high in fat and processed foods are also associated with lowered cognitive function and memory in humans And the animal models As well as the high incidence of neurodegenerative diseases. However, scientists still do not know whether these effects are due to these foods or to weight gain and insulin resistance Develop with long-term consumption of these diets.


This brings us to an important aspect of diet’s effect on the brain: time. Some foods can affect brain function and behavior acutely – for example over hours or days – while others take weeks, months or even years to have an effect.

For example, eating a slice of cake quickly shifts the fat-burning ketogenic metabolism of an individual with drug-resistant epilepsy into a carbohydrate-burning metabolism, increasing the risk of seizures. On the other hand, it takes weeks of sugar consumption for tasting and altering reward pathways in the brain, and months of vitamin C deficiency to develop scurvy. Finally, when it comes to diseases like

Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that attacks the brain, causing a decline in mental ability that gets worse over time. It is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. There is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are medications that can help relieve symptoms.

“data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{” attribute=””>Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, risk is influenced by years of dietary exposures in combination with other genetic or lifestyle factors such as smoking.

In the end, the relationship between food and the brain is a bit like the delicate Goldilocks: We need not too little, not too much, but just enough of each nutrient.

Written by Monica Dus, Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan.

This article was first published in The Conversation.The Conversation

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