Nutrition and Brain Development Jessica Bates Winter Quarter 2012 Current Issues In The Brain
The Brain• Extremely complex organ responsible for millions of connections we make.• Your brain controls responses and how we function physically and emotionally: – Minor, major, voluntary, involuntary responses – Emotions and Cognition – Personality – Motor Skills
Feeding Your brain• The human requires essential vitamins and minerals which can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals and other foods high in nutrition.• Without these aspects of food, our brain and body would not function and grow properly for one to maintain a normal and healthy lifestyle. – No single food and/or supplement can properly sustain the brain or body• It must be properly fueled by life’s ingredients to operate at it’s fullest potential.
Glucose• Glucose (sugar) – Fuel for our brain; what our brain primarily runs on. – All foods eventually break down into glucose for our hungry brain cells. • Enables brain proteins to build cells. • Needed to keep brain cells alive and functioning. Transforms • Glucose can’t be accumulated, so a readily available source of this chemical energy is extremely important. • Manufactures and transports the molecules of neurotransmitters and enzymes. • Glucose is most abundant in starches and sugars and is easily broken down from these items. Our brain really only uses one type of carbohydrate.
Amino Acids• Are building blocks of proteins; an organic compound – Dietary proteins are from complete proteins: • Fish, meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt – Incomplete: • Grains, seeds, and nuts – Your body breaks down dietary proteins into amino acids to configure different proteins needed for functioning: • Neurotransmitters • Chromosomes • Hormones • Enzymes
Vitamins• Vitamin A: Meat, eggs, orange and green leafy vegetables. – Deficiency can cause headaches – Is needed to effectively development proper eye function which stems from the brain.• Vitamin B12: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and other milk products. – Deficiency leads to fatigue, depression, poor memory, anemia, and in some cases severe and irreversible damage to brain and nervous system. – Needed for formation of new blood cells. – Needed to maintain outer myelin sheath of nerve cells. Lack of myelin can result in nerve damage and ultimately damage brain function.• Vitamin D: Different types of fish are a good source. – Deficiency is related to increased risk of the acceleration of cognitive decline. • Slower processing – Activates and deactivates enzymes in the brain.
Vitamins cont.• Vitamin E: Green leafy vegetables, plant oils, fortified breakfast cereals. – Deficiency leads to dizziness, muscle weakness, sensory changes and overall nerve damage. – Important antioxidant: Protects our tissues from destructive free radicals. – Fat-soluble vitamin• Folic Acid: Green vegetables like peas, broccoli, asparagus. Also yeast, wheat, and some nuts. – Deficiency can lead to a range of mental disorders. – Metabolizes protein and some amino acids – Needed to produce red blood cells and DNA• Magnesium: Green vegetables and unrefined grains. – Nerve and muscle functioning – Converts blood sugar to energy – Promotes synaptic plasticity in brain cells
Fats• Two-thirds of the brain is composed of fat.• Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)- Need in order to build brain cells. Flax seeds, green leafy vegetables and cold water fish contain a sufficient source. – Linoleic acid (LA)- Omega-6 family of fatty acids – Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): Omega-3 family of fatty acids.• Myelin- Made of 70% fat. Protects the brain by providing substance and insulation for the cells. – Your brain is always sending messages, without myelin, your messages would end with that neuron. – Myelination occurs from childhood through adolescence. Very important to have the appropriate amount of fat to build the myelin.• Membranes- working surface of your brain is made from fatty acids. – Fat is broken into fatty acid molecules, which are raw materials made to assemble the special types of fat it incorporates into its cell membranes. – Oxygen, glucose, and micronutrients pass through the cell membranes
Fats cont.• Avoid – Saturated Fat • Too much can hinder brain function – Trans Fat • Trans fat takes the place of healthy fat in myelin • Causes decreased brain function
Antioxidants• Green leafy vegetables, eggs, brown rice, and whole grains.• Defenders – Against reactive forms of oxygen: Free radicals. • Cause oxidation, “A biological form of rust”. – Can play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s and more.• Includes lycopene, carotene and lutien. – Shield brain from quick cell damage. More Information on antioxidants. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQphqLfpG0A
Malnutrition and the Brain• Avoid or limit brain drainers.• Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be caused by: – Starvation/skipping meals – Poor diet/over eating – Poor absorption of vitamins and minerals – Damage to the digestive system – Infection – Alcoholism – Nicotine
Children Need Proper Nutrition• Children who are malnourished don’t grow and develop at the normal rate of development. – Infants require a quality nutrition so that their brain and body develop correctly. • Breast milk offers the best mix of nutrients to help the brain grow – Brains don’t grow to fullest potential. • Reduced dendritic growth, myelination, and glia. – Lasting behavioral and cognitive issues. – Slower Language and fine motor skill development.
Bibliography• Krebs, Charles T. Nutrition for the Brain: Feeding Your Brain for Optimum Performance. Melbourne: Michelle Anderson, 2006. Print.• I used this book for the majority of my research. The book helped to reiterate the importance of nutrition to promote proper brain development. I learned a lot about all of the nutrients our brain and body need so that from birth to adulthood, our brain is being nourished to reach our fullest potential of development.•• Rosales, Francisco J., and Steven H. Zeisel. "Perspectives from the Symposium: The Role of Nutrition in Infant and Toddler Brain and Behavioral Developmen." Ebsco. WWU, 1 June 2008. Web. 1 Feb. 2012. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=2dd481fc- 61e0-45e8-955b-b72e4ef6a895%40sessionmgr12&vid=2&hid=122>.• This article helped my research to explain more of the role that nutrition plays towards our brain. It explained the process of how the nutrients are used very clearly.•• Benton, David. "Neurodevelopment and Neurodegeneration: Are There Critical Stages for Nutritional Intervention?" Ebsco. WWU, 2 Nov. 2010. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=6ede11eb- e6f3-4c3f-a484-ad4ffef8c27e%40sessionmgr113&vid=2&hid=122>.• This article helped my research in understanding the importance of nutrition for the brain and how we need a constant source of nutrients throughout our whole life.