Why the Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health

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July 21, — What Causes Congenital Cholesteatomas? M Return to top. P Return to top. August 22, — What is a Hydrocoele of the Spermatic Cord? Promotes growth in children; prevents anemia by regenerating red blood cells; aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; maintains healthy nervous system. For this reason and others, a small percentage of the population develops caffeine use disorder.

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Find all of the videos on the marijuana topic page. Want an herb that can help your brain? The cannabis issue reminds me of a similar clash of politics and commercial interests in the cell phone debate. I continue that video series with the next installment, coming up: By subscribing, you will automatically receive the latest videos emailed to you or downloaded to your computer or portable device.

Select the subscription method below that best fits your lifestyle. Copy the address found in the box above and paste into your favorite podcast application or news reader. How much cannabis is too much for those who start smoking as adults?

Subscribe to Videos Discuss. Part one of two. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. Keep off the grass? Cannabis, cognition and addiction. Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on human cognition-a systematic review.

Is cannabis neurotoxic for the healthy brain? A meta-analytical review of structural brain alterations in non-psychotic users. Orbitofrontal volumes in early adolescence predict initiation of cannabis use: Individuals who do not eat adequate calories from food to meet their energy requirements will experience changes in mental functioning.

Simply skipping breakfast is associated with lower fluency and problem-solving ability, especially in individuals who are already slightly malnourished.

A hungry person may also experience lack of energy or motivation. Chronic hunger and energy deprivation profoundly affects mood and responsiveness. The body responds to energy deprivation by shutting or slowing down nonessential functions, altering activity levels, hormonal levels, oxygen and nutrient transport, the body's ability to fight infection, and many other bodily functions that directly or indirectly affect brain function.

People with a consistently low energy intake often feel apathetic, sad, or hopeless. Developing fetuses and young infants are particularly susceptible to brain damage from malnutrition. The extent of the damage depends on the timing of the energy deprivation in relation to stage of development.

Malnutrition early in life has been associated with below-normal intelligence, and functional and cognitive defects. Carbohydrates include starches, naturally occurring and refined sugars, and dietary fiber.

Foods rich in starches and dietary fiber include grain products like breads, rice, pasta and cereals, especially whole-grain products; fruits; and vegetables, especially starchy vegetables like potatoes. Foods rich in refined sugars include cakes, cookies, desserts, candy, and soft drinks. Carbohydrates significantly affect mood and behavior. Eating a meal high in carbohydrates triggers release of a hormone called insulin in the body.

Insulin helps let blood sugar into cells where it can be used for energy, but insulin also has other effects in the body.

As insulin levels rise, more tryptophan enters the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid, or a building block of protein, that affects levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

As more tryptophan enters the brain, more of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced. Higher serotonin levels in the brain enhance mood and have a sedating effect, promoting sleepiness. This effect is partly responsible for the drowsiness some people experience after a large meal.

Some researchers claim that a high sugar intake causes hyperactivity in children. Although carefully controlled studies do not support this conclusion, high sugar intake is associated with dental problems. Further, foods high in refined sugars are often low in other nutrients, making it prudent to limit their use. Proteins are made up of amino acids linked together in various sequences and amounts.

The human body can manufacture some of the amino acids, but there are eight essential amino acids that must be supplied in the diet. A complete or high-quality protein contains all eight of the essential amino acids in the amounts needed by the body. Foods rich in high-quality protein include meats, milk and other dairy products, and eggs. Dried beans and peas, grains, and nuts and seeds also contain protein, although the protein in these plant foods may be low in one or more essential amino acid.

Generally, combining any two types of plant protein foods together will yield a complete, high-quality protein. For example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich combines grain protein from the bread with nut protein from the peanut butter to yield a complete protein. A bean-rice hot dish combines bean and grain protein for another complete protein combination. Protein intake and intake of individual amino acids can affect brain functioning and mental health. Many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids.

The neurotransmitter dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine. The neurotransmitter serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. If the needed amino acid is not available, levels of that particular neurotransmitter in the brain will fall, and brain functioning and mood will be affected.

For example, if there is a lack of tryptophan in the body, not enough serotonin will be produced, and low brain levels of serotonin are associated with low mood and even aggression in some individuals. Likewise, some diseases can cause a buildup of certain amino acids in the blood, leading to brain damage and mental defects.

For example, a buildup of the amino acid phenylalanine in individuals with a disease called pheylketonuria can cause brain damage and mental retardation. Dietary intake of fats may also play a role in regulating mood and brain function. Dietary fats are found in both animal and plant foods. Meats, regular-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, and plant oils are high in fats. Although numerous studies clearly document the benefits of a cholesterol-lowering diet for the reduction of heart disease risk, some studies suggest that reducing fat and cholesterol in the diet may deplete brain serotonin levels, causing mood changes, anger, and aggressive behavior.

Other studies have looked at the effects of a particular kind of fat, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils, and brain functioning. Although a few studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids are helpful with bipolar affective disorder and stress , results are inconclusive. High levels of fat and cholesterol in the diet contribute to atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries. Atherosclerosis can decrease blood flow to the brain, impairing brain functioning. If blood flow to the brain is blocked, a stroke occurs.

A high alcohol intake can interfere with normal sleep patterns, and thus can affect mood. Alcoholism is one of the most common causes of nutritional deficiencies in developed countries. Alcoholic beverages provide energy but virtually no vitamins or minerals. A person who consumes large amounts of alcohol will meet their energy needs but not their vitamin and mineral needs. In addition, extra amounts of certain vitamins are needed to break down alcohol in the body, further contributing to nutrient deficiencies.

Thiamin is a B vitamin found in enriched grain products, pork, legumes, nuts, seeds, and organ meats. Thiamin is intricately involved with metabolizing glucose, or blood sugar, in the body. Glucose is the brain's primary energy source. Thiamin is also needed to make several neurotransmitters. Alcoholism is often associated with thiamin deficiency. Alcohol interferes with thiamin metabolism in the body, and diets high in alcohol are often deficient in vitamins and minerals.

Individuals with a thiamin deficiency can develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome , which is characterized by confusion, mental changes, abnormal eye movements, and unsteadiness that can progress to severe memory loss. Vitamin B is found only in foods of animal origin like milk, meat, or eggs. Strict vegans who consume no animal-based foods need to supplement their diet with vitamin B to meet the body's need for this nutrient.

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Ullrich S, Valdez AM. Counseling parents and teens about marijuana use in the era of legalization of marijuana.

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