Dietary Basics Help Build New Brain Cells

December 10, 2009 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Dietary Basics Help Build New Brain Cells
A diet high in polyphenols1 and polyunsaturated fatty acids is shown to help stimulate the production of new brain cells (brain stem cells) and reduce the deterioration of existing brain cells. A forty day experimental diet with mice (equivalent of five years human time) enabled researchers to analyze specific regions in the brain associated with stem cell formation.

The researchers state their results show that such a diet is capable of inducing the generation of new cells in the adult brain. It is also capable of strengthening the neural networks that become affected with age, and in neurogenerative processes such as Alzheimer's disease, as well as protecting neurons from oxidative and neural damage -- two phenomena that occur at the origin of many diseases affecting the central nervous system.

Polyphenols are common components of fruits and vegetables. The best known and studied polyphenols are flavonoids, such as grape seed extract, green tea, resveratrol, and quercetin. DHA is the polyunsaturated fatty acid with the most science supporting brain health.

This study shows that having dietary basics in place, which includes fresh fruit, vegetables, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a positive influence on the generation of new brain cells. Conversely, diets lacking these basic supplements such as diets high in refined and packaged foods, fail to enhance brain health.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Polyphenols and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Help New Brain Cells Form  Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.  Tony Valente, Juan Hidalgo, Irene Bolea, Bartolomé Ramirez, Neus Anglés, Jordi Reguant, José Ramón Morelló, Cristina Gutiérrez, Mercè Boada and Mercedes Unzeta.

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