Good nutrition can offset stress induced mental health problems

Harold Mandel's picture
A baby eating

Researchers have found supplementation early in life may help to offset problems for the adult brain from early life stress.

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There have been concerns about the potential negative effects of early life stress on the brain later in life. It appears that good nutrition early in life may be able to offset these concerns.

Negative effects of stress early in life on the adult brain may be offset by supplementation early in life

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology reports that the negative effects of stress early in life on the adult brain may be offset by supplementation early in life. It has been suggested by new research that short dietary supplementation early in life prevents decreased nutrient levels and lasting effects of the stress early in life on learning and memory later in life as adults.

Learning and memory later in life can be impaired by stress early in life

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It has been observed that learning and memory later in life can be impaired by stress early in life. New research has now shown that better nutrition early in life may offset the negative effects on the brain from stress. The scientists worked with mice and focused in on essential micronutrients, which included vitamins B6 and B12, methionine, and folic acid. These essential micronutrients are not made by the body and must therefore be ingested via diet.

The researchers observed stress early in life decreases the levels of these essential micronutrients in mouse pups. However supplementation prevented the decrease of methionine levels. This supplementation actually prevented
some of the negative lasting negative effects of stress early in life on learning and memory in adult offspring.

The children of today are our future

Aniko Korosi, Ph.D., who is a researcher from the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences and the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam in Amsterdam, has commented that the children of today are our future. It is hoped this study will offer contributions to novel nutritional strategies which can help prevent lasting negative consequences on later mental health of a stressful childhood.

This study has been published in The FASEB Journal. Researchers have found supplementation with micronutrients early in life protects against cognitive impairments in adults induced by stress early in life. This research opens up new avenues of consideration for nutritional intervention early in life to help nurture mental health.

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