Balancing dietary iron from both animal and plant sources is vital for our health. Too little iron makes us tired and short of breath. On the other hand, too much iron is stored in our organs, especially our liver, heart and pancreas, causing liver disease, heart problems and diabetes and other unpleasant illnesses. But what about brain? How does our diet influence the levels of iron in our brain and does it has consequences for brain functioning?
To answer this question, a recent small study investigated the relationship between dietary intake, brain iron and brain functioning in 73 healthy, older adults aged 61-86 years old. The study was based on knowledge that with aging the levels of brain iron concentration are increased leading to oxidative stress, neurodegeneration and decline in brain functioning.
The researchers found that those participants who ate specific nutrients (such as vitamin E, lysine, DHA omega-3 and LA omega-6 PUFA) commonly found in nuts, soybeans, olive oils, and fish tended to have lower brain iron and better working memory performance than expected for their age.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that these specific nutrients may slow the levels of brain iron accumulation and the decline of working memory while getting older.
Curious? HERE is the source