Preventing adolescent stress-induced cognitive and microbiome changes by diet
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Healthy nutrition during adolescence can help guard against the negative effects of chronic stress on brain development.
That’s the conclusion of a rodent study conducted in part by University College Cork scientists. They showed that feeding juvenile rats a diet supplemented with omega−3 fatty acids and vitamin A helped preserve the animals’ cognitive abilities despite exposure to social stress.
Stressed rats fed the enriched diet maintained normal levels of a protective protein in the brain and sustained a healthy community of microbes in the gut. And stressed rats given the nutritional supplements also performed just as well on memory tests as non-stressed rats that ate a standard diet.
The finding highlights the potential of dietary interventions for brain health in children exposed to stressful upbringings.
- PNAS USA 116, 9644–9651 (2019). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820832116