Preventing adolescent stress-induced cognitive and microbiome changes by diet

Research Highlight

Dietary supplements protect adolescent brain from stress

© Scott Tilley/Getty

© Scott Tilley/Getty

Healthy nutrition during adolescence can help guard against the negative effects of chronic stress on brain development.

That’s the conclusion of a rodent study conducted in part by University College Cork scientists. They showed that feeding juvenile rats a diet supplemented with omega−3 fatty acids and vitamin A helped preserve the animals’ cognitive abilities despite exposure to social stress.

Stressed rats fed the enriched diet maintained normal levels of a protective protein in the brain and sustained a healthy community of microbes in the gut. And stressed rats given the nutritional supplements also performed just as well on memory tests as non-stressed rats that ate a standard diet.

The finding highlights the potential of dietary interventions for brain health in children exposed to stressful upbringings.

Supported content

  1. PNAS USA 116, 9644–9651 (2019). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820832116
Institutions Share
University of Florence (UNIFI), Italy 0.39
University College Cork (UCC), Ireland 0.29
The Agriculture and Food Development Authority - Teagasc, Ireland 0.21
Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, PUCRS, Brazil 0.06
National Institute for Translational Neuroscience, Brazil 0.02
National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), MCTIC, Brazil 0.02