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Nutrition and the

Brain
How to Eat for Top Brain Function
Neil Nedley, M.D.

Clues of a “Nutrition Hit”


• Dietary Inventory indicates a Nutrition Hits
lot of junk food and/or meat
• Signs of a carbohydrate
• Insufficient dietary tryptophan
addict
– Sugar temporarily
increases brain serotonin
levels, helping the person
“feel better.”
• Low serum B-12 or
folate
• Often no obvious clues
are present

Tryptophan Boosting Intervention:


Foods Rich in Tryptophan Conclusions
(mg/100 grams) • In stress-prone subjects, carbohydrate-rich,
Whole milk 46 protein-poor food (CR/PP) prevents a
deterioration of mood and performance under
Blackeyed Cowpeas 267 uncontrollable laboratory stress conditions.
Black Walnuts 290 • Stress-prone subjects have a higher risk of brain
serotonin deficiency
Almonds 322
– In such subjects, carbohydrates increase
Seasame seeds 358 personal control
Gluten flour 510 – CHOs prevent a functional shortage of central
serotonin during acute stress, due to their
Roasted pumpkin seeds 578 potentiating effect on brain tryptophan
Tofu 747
Markus CR, Panhuysen G, Tuiten A, Koppeschaar H, Fekkes D, Peters ML. Does carbohydrate-rich,
0 200 400 600 800 protein-poor food prevent a deterioration of mood and cognitive performance of stress-prone subjects when
subjected to a stressful task? Appetite. 1998 Aug;31(1):49-65.
Ratio of Tryptophan to 5 Amino Acids
The Ironic Conclusion
Whole Milk 3.3.% fat 0% 40% 60%

Salmon 0% 40% 60%


• Don’t chow down on high protein sources
Beef Steak-Sirloin 0% 46% 54%
to boost either tyrosine or tryptophan
Chicken Breast 0% 46% 54%

Brown Rice 0% 46% 54% • Emphasize carbohydrate-rich plant sources


Black-eyed Peas 0% 48% 52% of nutrition
Soybeans 0% 53% 47%

Black Walnuts 0% 55% 45%

Pumpkin Seeds 0% 56% 44%

Tofu 0% 63% 37%

Almonds 0% 68% 32%

Sesame Seeds 0% 81% 19%

0% 25% 50% 75% 100%

Omega 3 Supplements Help


Nutritional Causes of Depression
Manic Depression
• Insufficient dietary tryptophan
Patients receiving omega 3 supplements “had a
• Low omega-3 fatty acid intake significantly longer period of remission (from
illness) than the placebo group.” Patients receiving
omega 3 supplements also displayed considerable
improvement on tests assessing levels of
depression and other bipolar symptoms.
In an editorial, Dr. Joseph Calabrese and colleagues
at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland,
Ohio, call the trial a “landmark attempt in drug
development for bipolar disorder.”
Nature Medicine. 1997;4(7):25-30. The Lancet. 1997;349:915-919. Archives of General Psychiatry 1999;56:407-412,
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1998;154(4):497-501.
Am. J. Psychiatry. 1997;154:426-428. Nature. 1997;386:824-827
413-414, 415-416

Specific Hippocampal Benefits


Fish High in Omega 3
• Among omega-3 induced hippocampal effects is a Fish Amount Omega-3 (mg)
10-fold rise in the production of transthyretin (TTR). Drum fish 1 ea. 810
• TTR appears to be vital to long term brain health by Tuna (in water) 1 serv. 930
scavenging or “rounding up” something called Rainbow trout 1 ea. 1180
amyloid beta protein—the compound that
accumulates in “tangles” in Alzheimer brains. Freshwater bass 3.5 oz 1190
• By gathering up these abnormal proteins, TTR is Pink Salmon 3.5 oz 1710
believed to prevent the damaging amyloid tangles or Herring 3.5 oz 3000
aggregates, thus potentially staving off dementia.
Halibut 3.5 oz 3160
• Of interest, other brain-protective biologicals like
Shad fillet 1 cup 3680
Ginkgo biloba also increase TTR.
• Cohen D, Eisdorfer C. The Loss of Self. (Revised and Updated Atlantic mackerel 3.5
Edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2001. oz 3930
E.P.A Recommendations for Young Children,
Biomagnification of DDD Pregnant and Nursing Women and Women
Insecticide who Could Get Pregnant (Adapted)
Sample Site DDD, ppm • Avoid all consumption of mercury-rich fish like shark,
swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
Lake water 0.02 • Limit fish consumption to one average sized meal per
week if you are eating local fish where no safety
Phytoplankton (living in DDD-contaminated water) 5 advisories are available. (If there are local warnings—
heed those admonitions.)
• Even when fish are lower in mercury, limit intake to two
Herbivorous fish (they eat the phytoplankton) 40-300 average-sized meals per week. (The Environmental
Protection Agency states that “nearly all fish and shellfish
contain traces of mercury.”)
Carnivorous fish (they eat the herbivorous fish) up to 2500
• United States Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug
In parts per million (ppm) in Clear Lake, CA Administration. Consumption Advice: Joint Federal Advisory for Mercury
in Fish. March 19, 2004. Accessed April 28, 2004 at http://www.epa.gov/
waterscience/fishadvice/advice.html.

Plant Foods Containing Omega-3


Mercury and Fish
(Linolenic Acid)
The connection between eating fish and body
mercury levels is so strong that researchers Food Item Amount Omega-3 (mg)
seeking to determine mercury exposures among Flaxseed/Linseed oil 1 Tbs. 7526
groups of people often look at only one dietary Chia Seeds 1 Tbs. 7289
factor: fish consumption. Walnuts, English ! cup 1703
Walnuts, black ! cup 1034
Wheat germ oil 1 Tbs. 938
(1) Levy M, et al. Childhood urine mercury excretion: dental amalgam and
Soybean oil (Crisco/Wesson) 1 Tbs. 927
fish consumption as exposure factors. Environ Res. 2004 Mar;94(3):283-90. Green soybeans 1 cup 637
(2) Bjornberg KA, et al. Methyl mercury and inorganic mercury in Swedish Spinach canned 1 cup 353
pregnant women and in cord blood: influence of fish consumption. Environ Almonds ! cup 136
Health Perspect. 2003 Apr;111(4):637-41.

ESHA Research 3nd Edition 2000

Sources of Folate
Nutritional Causes of Depression
• Insufficient dietary tryptophan Amount Food Item Folate (mcg)
• Low omega-3 fatty acid intake 5! ounces Sirloin steak, broiled, trimmed 16
! cup Parsnips, raw slices 44
• Low folate levels (such depression 1 cup Pineapple juice, canned 58
unresponsive to medication) 1 cup Fresh orange juice 75
" cup Spanish peanuts, raw 88
1 cup Mustard greens, raw 105
1 cup Spinach, raw 109
1 cup Navy beans 255
1 cup Okra pods, frozen 269
1 cup Lentils 831
Nature Medicine. 1997;4(7):25-30. The Lancet. 1997;349:915-919.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1998;154(4):497-501.
1 cup Black-eyed cowpeas 1057
Am. J. Psychiatry. 1997;154:426-428. Nature. 1997;386:824-827
Hypercholesterolemia and
Nutritional Causes of Depression
Depression
• Insufficient dietary tryptophan
• Low omega-3 fatty acid intake • Patients with major depressive disorder
(MDD) tend to have significantly higher
• Low folate levels (such depression cholesterol levels than healthy adults,
unresponsive to medication)
• MDD patients with elevated cholesterol
• Atherosclerosis causing heart disease or mini
have a poorer prognosis for treatment
strokes
response.

Nature Medicine. 1997;4(7):25-30. The Lancet. 1997;349:915-919. Papakostas GI, Petersen T, Mischoulon D, Hughes ME, Alpert JE, Nierenberg AA,
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1998;154(4):497-501. Rosenbaum JF, Fava M. Serum cholesterol and serotonergic function in major depressive
Am. J. Psychiatry. 1997;154:426-428. Nature. 1997;386:824-827 disorder. Psychiatry Res. 2003 May 30;118(2):137-45.

Cholesterol in Foods Cholesterol in Foods


Items (3 oz.) Chol. (mg) Items (3 oz.) Chol. (mg) Items (3 oz.) Chol. (mg) Items (3 oz.) Chol. (mg)
Fruits 0 Egg White 0 Chicken breast, 73 Shrimp
Grains 0 Mayonaise 8 no skin 165kidney
Beef 329
Nuts 0 Ice Cream, 1/2c 29 Pork 76 Beef liver 410
Vegetables 0 Butter, 1 Tbs 31 Beef, sirloin 80 Caviar 500
Egg, 1 large 213 Chicken breast & 82 Beef brains 1697
Milk, non-fat, 1c 4
Milk, 2%, 1c 18 Tuna 26 skin
Milk, whole, 1c 33 Clams 57 Oyster 84
Crab 64 Sardines 120

Foods Containing Harmful


Cholesterol By-Products “Especially Harmful”
Sources of the most harmful cholesterol to monkey aortas are:
“Especially harmful are the custards
1. Custard mixes and puddings in which milk, eggs, and
2. Pancake mixes sugar are the chief ingredients. The
free use of milk and sugar together
3. Parmesan Cheese should be avoided.”
3. Lard

Ellen G White. The Ministry of Healing. Pg. 301.


Changes in Psychological Distress
in the Lifestyle Heart Trial Foods High in Vitamin B6
(mg/100grams)
Anxiety, depression, insomnia, & anhedonia index Lima beans 0.51
28.0 27.2
Veg Lentils 0.54
23.9 Meat 24.1
English Walnut 0.56
21.0
19.0 Banana 0.58

14.0 Sesame seeds 0.79

Sunflower seeds 0.81


7.0
Artichoke hearts 0.940

0 Sweet bell peppers 2.22

Baseline One year 0 0.750 1.500 2.250 3.000

Other Nutrient Deficiencies Linked


to Depression
• In four double-blind studies an
improvement in thiamine status was
Don’t Forget Vitamin D associated with improved mood.
• Iron deficiency anemia is common,
Worth your while to get a 25 hydroxy particularly in women, and is associated
vitamin D level with apathy, depression and rapid fatigue
when exercising.
Benton D, Donohoe RT. The effects of nutrients on mood. Public Health Nutr.
1999 Sep;2(3A):403-9. Department of Psychology, University of Wales Swansea,
Swansea, UK. d.benton@swansea.ac.uk

Iron Content of Foods Per Serving Iron Content of Foods Per Serving
Almonds Dry Roasted (1 C) 5.25 Rice Bran (1 C) 15.40
Kidney Beans Cooked (1 C) 5.20 Amaranth Grain Dry (1 C) 14.80
Whole Wheat Flour (1 Tofu Firm Raw (1/2 C) 13.20
C) Beans Cooked (1 C)4.66
Lima 4.50 Toasted Wheat Germ (1 C) 10.30
Green Peas Cooked (1 Sunflower Seed Kernals (1 C) 9.75
C)
Mangos (1 C) 2.47 2.10 Soybeans Cooked (1 C) 8.84
Ground Beef (3 oz) 2.08 Pistachios Dry Shelled (1 C) 8.68
Sirloin Steak (3 oz) 2.05 Cashews Dry Roasted (1 C) 8.22
California Avocado (One) 2.04 Spinach Cooked (1 C) 6.42
Other nutrients that may protect the Total Resveratrol Content of
brain Selected Foods
• Flavonoids Resveratrol in micrograms
• Resveratrol
• Good breakfast with carbs, protein, and fat • Peanuts (boiled) 1 cup (180 g) 1280
• Monounsaturated fat • Red grapes 1 cup (160 g) 1250
• Choline
• Vitamin K

Source – Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University

Top 10 Sources of Vitamin K Obesity Associated with


BROCOLLI (FROZEN) 183

DANDELION GREENS 204


Depression
ONIONS (RAW) 207 • Obesity associated with low
energy levels
BROCOLLI 220
• After meal blood sugars in
MUSTARD GREENS 419
excess of 140 mg/dl
associated with fatigue
TURNIP GREENS 529 • Getting on a weight loss
BEET GREENS 697
program and losing more
than 5 pounds can bring
COLLARDS 836
about improved energy
SPINACH 889 levels and mood.
0 275 550 825 1100
KALE 1062
*Micrograms per 1 cup cooked, boiled and drained unless otherwise specified – USDA Nutrient Database 2008

Four Step Weight Loss Plan Folate and Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
• No snacks. Drink only water • The common mediator of the effects of B-12 and folate
between meals. deficiency may be reduced SAMe.
• Eat a good breakfast and a • Correction of folate and vitamin B-12 deficiencies may
alleviate depressive symptoms and augment the
moderate lunch. Eliminate the response to antidepressant therapy, perhaps because of
evening meal. If something “must” the resultant increase in SAMe concentrations.
be eaten in the evening, whole fruit
is all that is allowable.
• Eliminate or at least greatly reduce
refined sugar and free fats or fatty
foods in the diet, while emphasizing
foods high in fiber.
• Daily moderate exercise for at least
45 minutes a day.
Mischoulon & Fava.
AJCN 2002 Nov;76(5):1158S-61S.
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