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eISSN : 2233-6842

Special Article


pISSN : 2233-6834
eISSN : 2233-6842
Editor in Chief : Jonghoon Park
Physical Activity and Nutrition - Vol. 24 , No. 1

Potential role of phytochemicals in brain plasticity: Focus on polyunsaturated fatty acids

Jang Soo Yook / Minchul Lee

Figure 1.

The bidirectional brain-gut-microbiome connections and their relation to phytochemicals. Illustration of how phytochemicals from medicinal plants play a vital role in maintaining brain plasticity by influencing the brain-gut-microbiome axis.

[Purpose] Functional foods are thought to strongly influence the structure and function of the brain. Previous studies have reported that brain-boosting diets may enhance neuroprotective functions. Certain foods are particularly rich in nutrients like phytochemicals that are known to support brain plasticity; such foods are commonly referred to as brain foods.

[Methods] In this review, we briefly explore the scientific evidence supporting the neuroprotective activity of a number of phytochemicals with a focus on phenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as flavonoid, olive oil, and omega-3 fatty acid.

[Results] The aim of this study was to systematically examine the primary issues related to phytochemicals in the brain. These include (a) the brain-gut-microbiome axis; (b) the effects of phytochemicals on gut microbiome and their potential role in brain plasticity; (c) the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in brain health; and (d) the effects of nutrition and exercise on brain function.

[Conclusion] This review provides evidence supporting the view that phytochemicals from medicinal plants play a vital role in maintaining brain plasticity by influencing the brain-gut-microbiome axis. The consumption of brain foods may have neuroprotective effects, thus protecting against neurodegenerative disorders and promoting brain health.




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