Journal scan

Marmite may affect brain function

Eating foods rich in B-vitamins – such as Marmite – can boost chemicals associated with healthy brain function, according to researchers.

Eating foods rich in B-vitamins such as the yeast extract Marmite can boost chemicals associated with healthy brain function, according to researchers

The team at University of York compared 28 men and women in their 20s, half of who had a teaspoon of Marmite every day for a month and half who consumed peanut butter.

Using electroencephalography (EEG) scans they measured electrical activity in the brain and found a 30% reduction in response to visual stimuli in the Marmite group.

Maintaining a healthy brain

They suggest the prevalence of vitamin B12 in the spread increased levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) responsible for inhibiting the excitability of neurons in order to regulate the balance of activity needed to maintain a

...

Eating foods rich in B-vitamins – such as the yeast extract Marmite – can boost chemicals associated with healthy brain function, according to researchers


Marmite and other yeast extracts have been found to be useful in maintaining a healthy brain. Picture: iStock

The team at University of York compared 28 men and women in their 20s, half of who had a teaspoon of Marmite every day for a month and half who consumed peanut butter.

Using electroencephalography (EEG) scans they measured electrical activity in the brain and found a 30% reduction in response to visual stimuli in the Marmite group.

Maintaining a healthy brain

They suggest the prevalence of vitamin B12 in the spread increased levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) responsible for inhibiting the excitability of neurons in order to regulate the balance of activity needed to maintain a healthy brain.

Anika Smith, PhD student in York’s department of psychology and first author of the study, said: 'This is a promising first example of how dietary interventions can alter cortical processes, and a great starting point for exploring whether a more refined version of this technique could have some medical or therapeutic applications in the future.'


Smith A (2017), Dietary modulation of cortical excitation and inhibition. Journal of Psychopharmacology. doi.org/10.1177/0269881117699613

 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs