Brain readjusts sweetness levels on low sugar diet

The brain readjusts sweetness levels on low sugar diet as proven in a new study. People on a low sugar diet for 3 months reported vanilla pudding as sweeter than before the diet. Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center took subjects who regularly consumed two to three sugary beverages a day. With a dietician’s guidance the subjects reduced their calories from sugar by 40% and maintained this diet for three months. At the end of the three months, the sweetness sensation was enhanced in the group maintained on the low-sugar diet. However, when allowed to consume which foods they liked, the low sugar diet group had a higher preference for sugar containing foods.

Science daily: sweetness preference

 

brain readjusts sweetness on a low sugar diet
brain readjusts sweetness on a low sugar diet

So what does that mean for the rest of us?

(more…)

Read More

Sugar addiction: inside the brain view of how we get hooked

Sugar addiction may sound funny. Drugs are addicting. Cigarettes are addicting. Alcohol too, but sugar? Well in fact addiction involves a substance that changes our brain’s reward system to want more exposure. In that sense, we lose our control. The desire for that substance is guiding our decisions and actions though the day. This article will show an inside the brain view of sugar addiction and explain how we get hooked.

Sugar Addiction inside the brain

(more…)

Read More

Traumatic brain injury causes Alzheimer’s plaques

A new study shows that traumatic brain injury causes Alzheimer’s plaques. Specifically, brain injured patients exhibit plaques similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Injuries ranging from workplace accidents to sports were examined in middle age patients who had experienced an injury within the past two years. The study originally published in Neurology found plaques in those with traumatic brain injury similar to those in Alzheimer’s. In these patients, the plaques were found in the posterior cingulate cortex a frontal and temporal lobe processing center for higher order and emotional information. While the study had a small sample size, the conclusion may encourage other studies to examine the trajectory of traumatic brain injury.

Take home message: 

 Traumatic brain injury causes brain inflammation, while the brain is trying to heal itself. Some cells are damaged and the inflammation can also harm neighboring brain cells.

Brain inflammation has already been shown to be linked to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

Inflammation is also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease as are accumulations of plaques in the brain.

Plaques may be a sign of unhealthy or damaged neurons (not just aged ones) unable to remove its own waste or function as they should. This accumulation of plaques interferes with neuronal communication. The waste interferes with propagation of the electrical impulses and maintenance of the neuronal synapse. If signaling is reduced in the synapse then cells with lose contact with each other.

Traumatic brain injury causes Alzheimer's plaques

(more…)

Read More

Postpartum Depression: Dietary Risk Factors

Postpartum depression 5 dietary risk factors

Postpartum depression (PPD) now referred to more often as perinatal depression is one of the most common medical complications in pregnancy and postpartum life of a mother. The most severe symptoms are reported regarding negative moods, increased anxiety, and increased risk of suicide.  Many of those with symptoms often begin during pregnancy itself. Symptoms also increase in the event of pregnancy complications. A new review by M. Serati et al published this year in the journal of affective disorders gives an up-to-date look at all dietary as well as some genetic predispositions associated with this psychiatric condition. We will focus on 5 dietary risk factors:

ppd cover

Dietary Risk Factors:

  1. Low vitamin D: Lower levels of D3 measured as early as the second trimester show correlation with post-partum depression. Vitamin D also influences immune function and many people even in sunny climates are deficient. Vitamin D is found in fish and fortified dairy products.
  2. High homocysteine levels: These are predictive of a b-vitamin deficiency. There maybe low levels of folate, B6 and sometimes B12. These high homocysteine levels can cause cell death and excessive tampering with DNA. B-vitamins are found in a variety of foods from leafy greens to fruits to fish, meat and dairy.

(more…)

Read More

8 Surprising tips for preventing Alzheimer’s disease

8 Surprising tips for preventing Alzheimer’s disease were compiled to help us prevent decline of our most important asset: our brain. If we think about our daily habits and food intake now ,then we can help keep our brain younger longer.

Here are 8 Surprising tips for preventing Alzheimer’s disease:

8 surprising tips to prevent alzheimer's disease
8 surprising tips to prevent alzheimer’s disease

 

  1. Floss: Poor dental hygiene can cause inflammation. Even if our gums do not hurt and we do not feel like we need a filling, our body’s immune system is contending with the circulating bacteria in our mouth. Excess inflammation is never a good idea. If our body’s immune defenses are down or otherwise engaged then the brain’s privileged “closed” status is violated. This means circulating inflammatory markers and bacteria can enter the brain. These inflammatory markers can disrupt neuron to neuron communication which is the basis of learning, memory and mood.  (more…)

Read More