A teaspoon of Marmite a day

University of York scientists discovered a link between eating Marmite and an increase of a chemical messenger associated with healthy brain function.

Participants who ate a teaspoon of Marmite a day for a month showed a reduction of around 30 percent in their brain’s response to visual stimuli.

Researchers think this may be due to the prevalence of vitamin B12 in Marmite which increases levels of a specific neurotransmitter – known as GABA – in the brain.

What is GABA and what does it do?

GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits the excitability of neurons in the brain.

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In other words, GABA ‘turns down the volume’ of neural responses in order to regulate the delicate balance of activity needed to maintain a healthy brain.

Marmite consumption appears to increase GABA levels.

Researchers think this may be due to the prevalence of vitamin B12 in Marmite increasing levels of a specific neurotransmitter

GABA imbalances are also associated with a variety of neurological disorders.

Long-term effects of Marmite

“These results suggest that dietary choices can affect the cortical processes of excitation and inhibition – consistent with increased levels of GABA – that are vital in maintaining a healthy brain,” says Anika Smith, PhD student in York’s Department of Psychology and first author of the study.

“As the effects of Marmite consumption took around eight weeks to wear off after participants stopped the study, this suggests that dietary changes could potentially have long-term effects on brain function.

“Although GABA is involved in various diseases we can make no therapeutic recommendations based on these results, and individuals with a medical condition should always seek treatment from their GP,” says Dr Daniel Baker, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and senior author of the paper.

Source: University of York via www.Sciencedaily.com