Researchers linked the impact of blood levels of six plasma metabolites to some essential brain activities. They found that the most protective level of such metabolites is associated with the MedDiet.
We identified a few metabolites… in the blood the levels of which are correlated with cognitive function, and they are all related to diet
Metabolites are small intermediating molecules produced by the human metabolism. Their levels can change considerably across individuals.
According to the Human Metabolome Project, the human body relies on more than 4,000 metabolites. Several global research projects are working on mapping the combinations and impacts of these metabolites.See Also:Health News
The study, published by the scientific journal of the United States Alzheimer’s Association, built on the identification of six metabolites known to lower cognitive functions and demonstrated that their impacts are generalized across diverse races and ethnicities.
The scientists explained that they tested metabolite-cognitive function association in American Hispanic/Latino and European and African American adults. Thousands of individuals whose profiles come from longitudinal studies were used for the research.
“We applied Mendelian Randomization (MR) analyses to assess causal associations between the metabolites and cognitive function and between the Mediterranean diet and cognitive function,” they wrote.
The authors, who belong to several U.S. research institutions, said their findings suggest a potential impact of dietary habits on the level of such metabolites. The amount of metabolites and their effect on brain performance show the relevance of following a healthy diet.
“We identified a few metabolites… in the blood the levels of which are correlated with cognitive function, and they are all related to diet,” Tamar Sofer, a biostatistical researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University and researcher on the study, told Medical News Today.
“While there are clinical trials showing that diet can influence cognitive function, identifying specific metabolites can help identify specific mechanisms, specific components of diet that are more important than others, and biomarkers to measure [the] success of dietary changes,” she added.
Sofer warned that such results must be considered a first glance into those associations. “There is still work to do to make these steps happen, but this is a good start, especially because the results held up in a few different studies, so the findings are very reliable,” she said.
Over the past 20 years, hundreds of researchers have studied the health benefits of following and adopting the Mediterranean diet. Its anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to various cognitive and other health benefits.
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are so substantial that the American Society for Nutrition estimated in 2018 that if only 20 percent of the U.S. population chose to adopt it, the country would save more than $20 billion per year.