The Association between Nutrition and Brain Health

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 August 2024 | Viewed by 20044

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: cognitive psychology; psychopharmacology; nutrition and brain function; herbal extracts; effects of natural substances on brain function; cognition enhancement; dementias; drugs and behavior; alcohol; caffeine
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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Teesside University, Victoria, Victoria Rd, Middlesbrough TS3 6DR, UK
Interests: prefrontal cortex; educational leadership; memory; cognitive development; educational management; neuroscience; experimental psychology; cognitive neuroscience; biological psychology; neuropsychological tests
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Interests: psychological and cognitive functioning in type 2 diabetes; nutritional influences (specifically carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, chewing gum) on cognitive performance and mood; the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in stress and health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nutrition/diet plays a crucial role in brain health because it influences various aspects of cognition, mood, memory, and learning. Moreover, nutrition can modulate the risk and progression of several neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Nutrition-related changes in mood and cognitive performance can also occur in non-clinical populations. However, the optimal dietary patterns and nutrition intakes for brain health are not well established and may vary depending on age, genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Therefore, it is important to understand the mechanisms by which nutrition affects brain function and to identify the dietary strategies that can promote brain health and prevent or delay cognitive decline.

In this Special Issue of Nutrients, we aim to explore the association between nutrition and brain health and provide evidence-based recommendations for nutrition and brain health at the epidemiological, clinical, and translational levels to better elucidate the role of nutrition in the brain and the mechanisms underlying its effects. We welcome different types of submissions, including original research articles, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.

Prof. Dr. Andrew Scholey
Dr. Jonathon Reay
Dr. Michael A. Smith
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nutrition
  • dietary supplements
  • diet
  • nutrients
  • cognition
  • neurological disorders
  • dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • brain health
  • brain function

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 2451 KiB  
Article
Wild Blueberry Extract Intervention in Healthy Older Adults: A Multi-Study, Randomised, Controlled Investigation of Acute Cognitive and Cardiovascular Effects
by Nancy Cheng, Katie L. Barfoot, Romain Le Cozannet, Pascale Fança-Berthon, Daniel J. Lamport and Claire M. Williams
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1180; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081180 - 16 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Background: Circadian and homeostatic declines in cognitive performance are observed during the day, most commonly at 14:00. Additionally, postprandial reductions in cognitive ability have been widely demonstrated 1 h after lunch consumption, affecting domains of executive functioning (EF), episodic memory (EM), and attention. [...] Read more.
Background: Circadian and homeostatic declines in cognitive performance are observed during the day, most commonly at 14:00. Additionally, postprandial reductions in cognitive ability have been widely demonstrated 1 h after lunch consumption, affecting domains of executive functioning (EF), episodic memory (EM), and attention. Existing evidence shows that anthocyanin-rich foods such as berries may improve or attenuate the decline in EF and EM in ageing adults. Further research is required to assess whether extracts such as wild blueberry extract (WBE) may be beneficial for cognitive function across an acute timeframe, including known periods of reduced functioning. Objectives: (1) Study 1: ROAB: To investigate the efficacy of WBE in maintaining EF and EM throughout the day alongside measures of cardiovascular outcomes in healthy older adults. A range of WBE doses were utilised to identify the optimal dose at which cognitive and cardiovascular effects occur. (2) Study 2: BEAT: To replicate alleviation of cognitive decline during a predicted post-lunch dip whilst also improving cardiovascular outcomes following acute WBE 222 mg supplementation. Methods: Both studies employed a randomised, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled design to explore the effects of WBE intervention versus placebo on several outcomes, including EM, EF, blood pressure, and heart rate in a healthy older adult population (aged 68–75). In ROAB, 28 participants received a single dose of WBE 111 mg, 222 mg, 444 mg, or 888 mg or placebo over a 5-week period, each separated by a 1-week washout. Outcomes were measured at 0 h, 2 h, 4 h, and 6 h post intervention, with intervention occurring immediately after baseline (0 h). In BEAT, 45 participants received WBE 222 mg and placebo (1-week washout). Outcomes were measured at 0 h and 6 h (14:00) when a post-lunch dip was anticipated. This was further enhanced by consumption of lunch 1 h prior to cognitive testing. The WBE 222 mg intervention aligned with known peaks in plasma blueberry polyphenol metabolites at 2 h post dosing, which would coincide with a predicted drop in post-lunch performance. Results: ROAB: A significant dip in executive function was apparent at the 4 h timepoint for placebo only, indicating attenuation for WBE doses. Strikingly, WBE 222 mg produced acute reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared with placebo. BEAT: EF reaction time was found to be significantly faster for WBE 222 compared to placebo at the predicted post-lunch dip (14:00), with no other notable benefits on a range of cognitive and cardiovascular outcomes. Conclusion: These two studies indicate that WBE may have cardiovascular benefits and attenuate the natural cognitive decline observed over the course of the day, particularly when a decline is associated with a circadian rhythm-driven postprandial dip. However, it is important to acknowledge that effects were subtle, and benefits were only observed on a small number of outcomes. Further research is required to explore the utility of WBE in populations already experiencing mild cognitive impairments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Association between Nutrition and Brain Health)
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19 pages, 1384 KiB  
Article
Effects of Green and Gold Kiwifruit Varieties on Antioxidant Neuroprotective Potential in Pigs as a Model for Human Adults
by Alexander P. Kanon, Caroline Giezenaar, Nicole C. Roy, Isuri A. Jayawardana, Dominic Lomiwes, Carlos A. Montoya, Warren C. McNabb and Sharon J. Henare
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081097 - 09 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Kiwifruit (KF) has shown neuroprotective potential in cell-based and rodent models by augmenting the capacity of endogenous antioxidant systems. This study aimed to determine whether KF consumption modulates the antioxidant capacity of plasma and brain tissue in growing pigs. Eighteen male pigs were [...] Read more.
Kiwifruit (KF) has shown neuroprotective potential in cell-based and rodent models by augmenting the capacity of endogenous antioxidant systems. This study aimed to determine whether KF consumption modulates the antioxidant capacity of plasma and brain tissue in growing pigs. Eighteen male pigs were divided equally into three groups: (1) bread, (2) bread + Actinidia deliciosa cv. ‘Hayward’ (green-fleshed), and (3) bread + A. chinensis cv. ‘Hort16A’ (yellow-fleshed). Following consumption of the diets for eight days, plasma and brain tissue (brain stem, corpus striatum, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex) were collected and measured for biomarkers of antioxidant capacity, enzyme activity, and protein expression assessments. Green KF significantly increased ferric-reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP) in plasma and all brain regions compared with the bread-only diet. Gold KF increased plasma ascorbate concentration and trended towards reducing acetylcholinesterase activity in the brain compared with the bread-only diet. Pearson correlation analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between FRAP in the brain stem, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus with the total polyphenol concentration of dietary interventions. These findings provide exploratory evidence for the benefits of KF constituents in augmenting the brain’s antioxidant capacity that may support neurological homeostasis during oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Association between Nutrition and Brain Health)
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20 pages, 1449 KiB  
Article
Negative Association of Lignan and Phytosterol Intake with Stress Perception during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Polish Study on Young Adults
by Agnieszka Micek, Paweł Jagielski, Izabela Bolesławska, Anna Maria Witkowska, Anna Waśkiewicz, Zbigniew Wajda, Anna Kamińska, Aneta Cebula and Justyna Godos
Nutrients 2024, 16(3), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16030445 - 02 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Background: There has been an increasing global prevalence of depression and other psychiatric diseases in recent years. Perceived stress has been proven to be associated with psychiatric and somatic symptoms. Some animal and human studies have suggested that consuming foods abundant in lignans [...] Read more.
Background: There has been an increasing global prevalence of depression and other psychiatric diseases in recent years. Perceived stress has been proven to be associated with psychiatric and somatic symptoms. Some animal and human studies have suggested that consuming foods abundant in lignans and phytosterols may be associated with lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Still, the evidence is not yet strong enough to draw firm conclusions. Thus, we investigated the association between dietary intake of these phytochemicals and the level of stress experienced by adult individuals. Methods: Diet was assessed using self-reported 7-day dietary records. The intakes of lignans and phytosterols were estimated using databases with their content in various food products. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) was implemented to measure the level of perceived stress. A logistic regression analysis was used to test for associations. Results: The odds of elevated PSS were negatively associated with dietary intake of total phytosterols, stigmasterol, and β-sitosterol, with evidence of a decreasing trend across tertiles of phytochemicals. The analysis for doubling the intake reinforced the aforementioned relationships and found protective effects against PSS for total lignans, pinoresinol, and campesterol. Conclusions: Habitual inclusion of lignans and phytosterols in the diet may play a role in psychological health. To address the global outbreak of depression and other mental health issues triggered by stress, it is important to take a holistic approach. There is a need to develop effective strategies for prevention and treatment, among which certain dietary interventions such as consumption of products abundant in lignans and phytosterols may play a substantial role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Association between Nutrition and Brain Health)
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12 pages, 2039 KiB  
Article
The Acute and Chronic Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplementation on Cognitive Function, Stress and Mood in Young Adults: A Double-Blind, Parallel Groups, Pilot Study
by Sarah Docherty, Faye L. Doughty and Ellen F. Smith
Nutrients 2023, 15(22), 4842; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15224842 - 20 Nov 2023
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Abstract
Background: Given the bioactive properties and limited work to date, Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s mane) shows promise in improving cognitive function and mood. However, much of the human research has concentrated on chronic supplementation in cognitively compromised cohorts. Objective: The current pilot study investigated [...] Read more.
Background: Given the bioactive properties and limited work to date, Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s mane) shows promise in improving cognitive function and mood. However, much of the human research has concentrated on chronic supplementation in cognitively compromised cohorts. Objective: The current pilot study investigated the acute and chronic (28-day) cognitive and mood-enhancing effects of Hericium erinaceus in a healthy, young adult cohort. Design: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups design investigated the acute (60 min post dose) and chronic (28-day intervention) effects of 1.8 g Hericium erinaceus in 41 healthy adults aged 18–45 years. Results: Analysis revealed that following a single dose of Hericium erinaceus, participants performed quicker on the Stroop task (p = 0.005) at 60 min post dose. A trend towards reduced subjective stress was observed following 28-day supplementation (p = 0.051). Conclusions: The findings tentatively suggest that Hericium erinaceus may improve speed of performance and reduce subjective stress in healthy, young adults. However, null and limited negative findings were also observed. Given the small sample size, these findings should be interpreted with caution. Further investigation in larger sample sizes is crucial, however the findings of this trial offer a promising avenue of interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Association between Nutrition and Brain Health)
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