Your Brain on Food [The Stack 021]

Hi Smarty Stackers,

This week’s edition of The Stack gives an approving nod to the necessary nutrition for your noggin. 

Your brain requires certain nutrients to stay healthy. Give it too much of the wrong stuff (drugs, alcohol, processed foods) and it has the potential to lose some function and adaptability.  

Give it the really good stuff (brain foods), and you can protect against chronic disease and inflammation-related conditions such as brain fog, mental fatigue, disease, and degeneration.

Put on your thinking cap and study these new studies on how food determines the health of your dome.

Plant-based diets risk brain health nutrient deficiency 

There’s a huge momentum towards a plant-based and vegan diet for environmental and health reasons, yet a nutritionist featured in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health warns that these diets may worsen an already low intake of an essential nutrient involved in brain health, choline. 

Snack on this: Want to learn more about choline? Check out The Stack Edition 17.

  • Choline is an essential nutrient produced by the liver, but not in amounts that meet the requirements of the human body.
    • Choline is found in eggs, dairy, fish, and chicken with much lover levels in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables. 
  • In 1998, the US Institute of Medicine recommended minimum intakes of choline: 425mg/day for women to 550 mg/day for men and 450-550mg/day for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 
  • In 2016, the European Food Safety Authority published similar dietary requirements, yet national dietary surveys in North America, Australia, and Europe show that habitual choline intake, on average, falls short of these recommendations. 
  • This is a concern given that the current trends appear to be towards meat reduction and plant-based diets. 

High-fat diets affect your brain, not just your body

Yale news pointed out that much research hasn’t explored how diet can bring about neurological changes in the brain. 

In a study published in Cell Metabolism, it was discovered that high fat diets contribute to irregularities in the hypothalamus region of the brain, which regulates homeostasis and metabolism.

  • The study evaluated how the consumption of a high fat diet, specifically high fat and high carbohydrates, stimulates hypothalamic inflammation, a physiological response to obesity and malnutrition. 
  • Researchers reaffirmed that inflammation occurs in the hypothalamus as early as three days after consumption of a high-fat diet, even before the body begins to display signs of obesity. 
  • It was discovered that the activation of microglia in animals was due to changes in their mitochondria, organelles that help our bodies derive energy from the food we consume. 
    • The mitochondria were much smaller in the animals on a high-fat diet. 
    • This was due to a protein which regulates mitochondria’s energy utilization, affecting the hypothalamus’ control of energy and glucose homeostasis. 
    • When receiving an inflammatory signal due to the high fat diet, animals in the high-fat diet group ate more and become obese. 
      • However this mechanism was blocked by removing the UCP2 protein from microglia.

Sugar alters compounds that impact brain health 

A University of Michigan study, published in Nature Communications, proved that when fruit flies are exposed to a high sugar diet, key metabolites associated with brain health become depleted. 

When we metabolize food, it’s broken down into metabolites - small molecules that perform many functions in the body. They supply fuel to cells and activating or inhibiting enzyme production.

  • To examine how sugar affects that brains and bodies of fruit flies, the research team compared a group of fasting flies to a group of fed flies. 
    • In the fed flies had breakfast of moderately sweet glucose jelly.
    • The sugar fed and control group flies were then put in separate tubes then frozen, in order to stop the metabolic process and see what was going on during the moment of satiety. 
  • The study found that 20 metabolites, in addition to NAA and kynurenine, were impacted by sugar consumption. 
  • Researchers found that it wasn’t just a gradual accumulation. By the seventh day, on a high sugar diet, fruit flies has a completely different metabolic profile.
    • In particular, the high sugar diet lowered the levels of the brain metabolites N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) and kynurenine. 
    • The alteration of metabolites could impact how quickly the fly senses satiety, causing it to eat more. 

Natural Stacks habitué

Jeremy is a Quantitative Analyst, working hard to report, analyze, and facilitate decision-making to improve business.

At home, he’s a family man. He also loves to get down with social dance, especially Lindy Hop, Blues, Balboa, Tango, and Salsa. 

He first heard about Natural Stacks from a podcast. The things that really stood out to him were the:

    1. "Transparency regarding ingredients, sourcing, and formulation."
    2. "Independent, third party quality testing, done by trustworthy labs."
    3. "More affordable pricing relative to comparable high quality supplements on the market.” 

“I was sold.”

Jeremy loves Natural Stacks BioCreatine™ because it helps him carry around his 26 pound 8 month old. 

“Carrying around a strong and muscular, wiggly, 26 lb baby several hours a day keeps most of our upper torso, arms and neck essentially engaged in dynamic and isometric holds for 3 to 6 hours per day, per parent. Every day.”

Even though they were visiting the chiropractor on a regular basis, both his and his wife’s backs had been constantly sore and in pain.

“I had been curious about Natural Stacks' BioCreatine for a while. We had tried other Creatine powders on the market, to help with muscle recovery, but my wife couldn't stomach them. They often have unnecessary and gross additives mixed in.

I finally convinced my wife to try NS BioCreatine (I had been rooting for NS from the start). She loves it. We both use it almost every day now. It has measurably improved our recovery time, and helped to significantly reduce pain and soreness from the activity with our 8 month old. Plus... improved muscle definition.”

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What else we're Stacking…

Disrupting the gut microbiome may affect some immune responses to flu vaccination [Science Daily]

OCD: Deep magnetic stimulation may help where other therapies fail [Medical News Today]

The fast and the curious: Fitter adults have fitter brains [Science Daily]

People with PTSD could benefit from fear reducing medication [Medical News Today]

Inflammation in late teens linked to mortality risk decades later [Medical News Today]

Men’s eating disorders often not recognized [WebMD]

Ketogenic Diet Foods to Avoid: 108 Foods That’ll Slow Your Fat Loss [Perfect Keto]


There's no magic pill nor one single food that can help improve cognitive abilities and prevent age-related decline. But the most important thing to do is follow a balanced diet rich in nutrients, limit inflammatory foods, and live a healthy active lifestyle. 

In nutrition we trust.

-Natural Stacks


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