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Nutrition and Brain Health
Dietary factors may aggravate or ameliorate symptoms and the progression of the brain disorders.
Saturated fat and sugar can be hazardous for brain health, increasing the risk for mental illnesses as well as other metabolic disorders including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Conversely, nutritional factors having beneficial effect on mental health are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially omega-3 FAs, phospholipids (phosphatidylserine and choline), cholesterol, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and Vitamin D₃
Gut-Brain Axis (GBA)
The gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Its role is to monitor and integrate gut functions as well as to link emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions and mechanisms such as immune activation, intestinal permeability, enteric reflex, and entero-endocrine signaling.
GBA , Western Diet (WD) & Dysbiosis
The gut microbiome is profoundly affected by dietary factors. (Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience|www.frontiersin.org January2017|Volume11|Article9)
WD known to induce dysbiosis and enhance susceptibility to E. coli and intestinal inflammation. (Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 19032 (2016))
A high-fat, carbohydrate-free diet (72% kcal from fat) reduces Bifidobacteria, which have been shown modulate intestinal barrier function and reduce endotoxin (a toxin present inside a bacterial cell that is released when it disintegrates) levels in the gut (Dig.Dis.Sci. 49,579–589.)
Studies suggest that high doses of sugar consumption elevated Enterobacteriaceae (other than just E coli), which are associated with gut and brain inflammation, and impaired cognition.
Substantial evidence has linked consumption of a Western Diet (WD) to cognitive decline.
The hippocampus, a brain region associated with the control of certain learning and memory processes, is particularly vulnerable to the deleterious effects of WD intake.
Obesity is also linked to mild cognitive decline but it is interesting to note in individuals who are obese and suffer from depression: cognitive decline is more severe. (PLoS One. 2017 May 5;12(5))
WD can reduce dopamine levels
A study showed that disruption of the microbiome induced mice to behave in ways that mimicked human anxiety, depression, and even autism. The researchers noted, “that dietary treatments could be used as either [an] adjunct or sole therapy for mood disorders is not beyond the realm of possibility”. (Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 2014, 817, 373–403) Probiotics have also been shown to possess both antioxidant and free radical scavenging abilities, increase production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and improve absorption of other nutrients, all of which have been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression. In terms of neurotransmission, several rodent studies found that consumption of probiotics prevented stress-induced increases in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) , corticosterone, adrenaline and noradrenaline. The reduction in these markers of chronic stress suggests that treatment with probiotics attenuated the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal HPA axis, which is over- active in depressed patients. (Wallace and Milev Ann Gen Psychiatry (2017) 16:14). Consumption of probiotics was also shown to increase expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor crucial for brain plasticity, memory, and neuronal health that is abnormally reduced in patients suffering from depression. (Wallace and Milev Ann Gen Psychiatry (2017) 16:14) .Other studies have noted changes in the molecules involved in the biosynthesis and metabolism of the critical neurotransmitter serotonin. (Wallace and Milev Ann Gen Psychiatry (2017) 16:14)
Why Choose SOLGAR® Probiotics?
Clinically proven strains
Strains resistant to both stomach acid and bile
Free from dairy, yeast, gluten and GMO
Exercise and the Brain
Exercise in healthy adults has the following benefits on the brain:
Improved release of monoamine neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine). Improved memory, attention, processing speed and executive functions. Regular exercise in mid-life reduces risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Increases cerebral blood flow, angiogenesis and permeability of the blood brain barrier (BBB). Improves motor function (in Parkinson’s disease). Stimulates hippocampal neurogenesis and maintains neural plasticity (Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation 2016; 12(5))
Depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments.
It is estimated that 360 million people are depressed world- wide
Scientists have believed that there is a causal link between serotonin levels and depression. This theory is largely based on the fact that when depressed individuals are given drugs that enhance serotonin levels, they feel better. Although neurotransmitters are definitely involved in depression, scientists are starting to believe that depression may also result from:
Genetic susceptibility (twin studies) and Serotonin Transporter Gene
Stress response- the more stressed we are the smaller our hippocampus gets (memory and emotional centre) and more risk of depression
Degeneration of neurons- when neurogenesis is stimulated symptoms of depression are improved. SSRIs are actually thought to stimulate neurogenesis and this is why depression improves
Rhodiola and Depression
In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, Rhodiola was compared to Zoloft in terms of efficacy and safety.
Although depressive symptoms showed greater improvement using Zoloft, patients taking Rhodiola also showed improvement and had fewer side effects. This led researchers to conclude that Rhodiola may be preferable to Zoloft due to increased safety and fewer side effects. (Phytomedicine, 2015 Mar 15;22(3):394-9)
St John’s Wort
Recent Cochrane reviews have found St. John’s Wort (SJW) extracts efficacious and well-tolerated in the treatment of both mild-to-moderate and major depression. Inhibits uptake of serotonin, dopamine, GABA and norepinephrine. Although mild adverse effects from SJW, such as gastrointestinal complaints, tiredness, dizziness, and allergic and photosensitivity reactions are occasionally reported, it is the herb’s effect on the major drug metabolizing enzymes CYP3A and P glycoprotein that limits its use. St John’s wort has neuroprotective effects including. Reduces oxidative stress in the brain. Reduces neurotoxicity and Reduces brain inflammation. Protects against cell death caused by amyloid peptides (Alzheimer’s). Regulates the HPA Axis- improves stress management (FrontiersinPlantScience 7 July 2016 | Volume7 | Article 1004)
Some of the receptors in the brain are receptors for vitamin D3, which means that vitamin D3 is acting in some way in the brain. These receptors are found in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression. For this reason, vitamin D3 has been linked with depression and with other mental health problems. Exactly how vitamin D3 works in the brain isn’t fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D3 affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain. Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore, researchers have suggested that vitamin D3 may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Recent research at University of Michigan (Dept of Psychiatry) has shown that kids and teenagers with ADHD lag behind others of the same age in how quickly their brains form connections within, and between, key brain networks. The result is less-mature connections between a brain network that controls internally-directed thought (such as daydreaming) and networks that allow a person to focus on externally-directed tasks. The lag in connection development may help explain why people with ADHD get easily distracted or struggle to stay focused.
Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD. Like many other illnesses, a number of factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:
Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy
Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy
Exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
Low birth weight
Low dopamine levels
In a randomized controlled trial, 36 (4-14 years of age) children diagnosed with ADHD were given either 200 mg per day of PS or placebo for 2 months. PS supplementation resulted in significant improvement in ADHD symptoms including:
In-attention, impulsivity, and short-term memory. No adverse effects were reported and the supplement was well tolerated (J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014 Apr;27 Suppl 2:284-
Many studies have shown the positive effects of omega 3 (specifically DHA) supplementation during pregnancy on the development of baby’s brain. The benefits include:
Better visual acuity and Better cognition (Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Oct-Nov;75(4-5))
Babies (especially boys) who do not have adequate Omega 3 during foetal development are at higher risk of:
Lowered dopamine levels Slower maturation of cortical regions (thoughts and actions) of brain. Decreased attention span. Studies have shown that Omega 3 supplementation (best results at around 300 mg DHA daily) may be effective in managing mild ADHD symptoms and may also reduce the need for higher doses of conventional stimulant drugs when combined with these standard treatments. (Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2016: 12)
Cognitive decline is a reality of getting older and generally includes the following symptoms:
Forgetfulness, decreased ability to maintain focus, decreased problem solving capacity. In some individuals this is more severe and Alzheimer’s or dementia can develop
Changes to the brain as we get older include:
Brain shrinkage (size and volume decrease), Less myelin, Circulatory changes (ischaemia)
Causes of Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Many factors contribute to age-related cognitive decline:
Oxidative stress and free radical damage, Chronic low-level inflammation (inflammaging), Declining hormone levels like oestrogen, testosterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, Inner arterial lining (endothelium) dysfunction, Insulin resistance, Excess body weight, Suboptimal nutrition, Loneliness, lack of social network, and high stress.
Phospholipids and Omega 3
When Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio in the body reaches 15-20: 1 rather than the preferable 1:1 ratio increased production of pro- inflammatory cytokines, endothelial dysfunction, blood flow abnormalities, decreased glucose metabolism, elevated plasma homocysteine levels, oxidative stress and disorder in vitamin D metabolism occur. All of these are not only linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease but also dementia and depression.( Physiol Res. 2017 Feb 28)
Many studies have shown that have an Omega 3 deficiency can change the phospholipid composition of the brain and increase risks of cognitive decline (PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0166964 December 1, 2016). Omega 3 is needed for membrane fluidity- the more fluid the plasma membranes in our brain cells are the better our memory and mental health appear to be. (Prog Lipid Res. 2004 Sep;43(5))
Phospholipids within the brain are important for modulating neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity, enzyme function, ion channel activities, gene expression and inflammation
Your brain is never going to be the same as it is right now.
The brian is constantly changing and everything you do (and don’t do) will change how your brain functions! This is called neural plasticity.
SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET
ONLY EAT TO LIVE
LOVE & LEARN TO LET GO
Have an AWESOME month ahead.
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