Health experts have understood that good nutrition and good cognition were interrelated. For many years, the relationship has not been clearly defined. A team of researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University recently completed a study that shows the relationship between the two. Gene Bowman was the author of the study.
In prior studies, researchers investigated the impact that a deficiency in specific vitamins had on cognitive functioning. The new study took a more comprehensive view of the topic. Rather than focusing solely on the negative impacts of a lack of vitamins on the cognitive performance, the study also investigated the positive impacts vitamins provided.
The study relied on biomarkers that measured the level of vitamins in the blood of 104 survey participants. After measuring vitamin levels, the survey participants were asked to take tests to measure the mental acuity. In addition, 42 respondents underwent MRI scans to assess their brain volume.
The study found some significant connections between vitamin levels and brain health. The study found that people with higher levels of B vitamins had more optimal cognitive abilities. The study drew similar correlations between cognition and levels of C, D and E vitamins, although the association wasn’t as significant. High levels of Omega-3 fatty acids were also associated with strong cognitive performance.
After assessing the relationship between brain health and vitamin levels, the researchers looked at the impact of trans fats. As the researchers suspected, high levels of trans fats in the blood had a negative impact on brain performance. In addition to affecting cognitive performance, the consumption of trans fats was found to cause brain shrinkage.
The researchers found that the nutritional impact on cognitive performance was not as strong as the degree of brain shrinking. Only 17% of the impact on cognitive performance was due to diet. However, about 37% of brain shrinkage was due to poor nutrition.
Bowman stated that the results still need to be confirmed with additional research. However, she said that they offer significant hope for many people. She emphasized that if the results of the study are verified, then people would be able to significantly minimize brain shrinkage simply by adapting to a healthier diet.
The results of the study are consistent with other research that is currently being conducted. Scientists are developing a more accurate understanding of the human brain and are learning that nutrition seems to play a significant impact on cognitive abilities.