Research shows food can influence brain and memory
We all know that eating has a physical effect on us, however, research now suggests that it influences our brain and memory as well. It is being suggested that having high levels of satiety hormones, which reduce our appetites, may lead to a lower likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.
Where in the body are the satiety hormones?
CCK, the satiety hormone, can be found in the brain and the small intestines. In the latter, it is used to absorb proteins and fats. In the brain, it resides in the hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are formed.
Chances of cognitive impairment decrease with higher levels of CCK
In this research, it was demonstrated that individuals with high levels of CCK were 65% less likely to be suffering from mild cognitive impairment, which is a forerunner of Alzheimer’s disease, and they were also 65% less likely to have Alzheimer’s itself.
Auriel Willette, head of the research team and assistant professor at Iowa State University’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said: “It will hopefully help to shed further light on how satiety hormones in the blood and brain affect brain function.”
Satiety hormone CCK has high expression in memory function
CCK was chosen for studying this research as it has a high expression in memory formation, lead author and nutritional science graduate student Alexandra Plagman said. The team also examined tau and p-tau proteins, which are believed to be toxic in the brain, to find out the ways they might influence CCK and memory formation. It was demonstrated that when tau levels are elevated, there was no longer a relationship between retarded memory decline and CCK.
Hoped that study will encourage people to think about nutrition in their diet and not just calories
Researchers have expressed the hope that this research will provide encouragement for individuals to think about what nutrition they are getting in their diet, instead of just thinking about calories. Plagman is already researching into the influence of diet on CCK levels by looking at ketone bodies and fasting glucose. “By looking at the nutritional aspect, we can tell if a certain diet could prevent Alzheimer’s disease or prevent progression of the disease,” she said.
Willette added: “The regulation of when and how much we eat can have some association with how good our memory is. Bottom line: what we eat and what our body does with it affects our brain.”