diets high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup disrupt memory and learning, however omega-3 fatty acids can help, at least partly, offset the disruption.
Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) June 04, 2012
According to a new study published in the Journal of Physiology, the American diet is laden with staggering amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Between soft drinks, candies, desserts, and processed foods the average American’s consumption of high fructose corn syrup amounts to roughly 35 pounds in a year, with cane sugar totaling another 47 pounds. Volumes of published research has shown a direct connection between these sugars and metabolic conditions such as obesity, elevated triglycerides and diabetes, however there is no data on such high sugar intake and its impact on mental health. ([(http://jp.physoc.org/content/early/2012/03/31/jphysiol.2012.230078.abstract),
Over a five-day period, researchers Fernando Gomez-Pinilla and Rahul Agrawal, from the University of California at Los Angeles, trained two groups of rats, twice a day, to navigate a maze. Then, for a subsequent six-week period, the rats were fed a fructose solution in place of drinking water, while the second group was also given the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and flaxseed oil (a rich source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, which mammals convert less efficiently to DHA). Considering brain tissue is roughly 40% DHA, researchers observed that the chemical connections between brain cells effecting learning and memory might be protected from the perceived “dumbing” effects of fructose by the omega-3 fatty acids.
After six weeks, the researchers tested the rats in their ability to recall landmarks that enabled them to navigate the maze and escape. The omega-3 fed group was able to recall the exit route and escape the maze faster than the group receiving only sugar. The brains of the rats were later examined. The rats fed only fructose had brains exhibiting signs of declined synaptic activity, as well as signs of insulin resistance, which regulates synaptic function and controls blood sugar. The scientists concluded that diets high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup disrupt memory and learning, however omega-3 fatty acids can help, at least partly, offset the disruption.
According to researcher Gomez-Pinilla, one gram per day of Omega-3 fatty acids can protect the brain from fructose’s “dumbing” effects. “It’s like saving money in the bank,” he said in a statement. “You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel to fight off future diseases.”
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Source: Journal of Physiology
“Metabolic Syndrome” in the brain: Deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition
Fernando Gomez-Pinilla and Rahul Agrawal
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