By: Dr. Judit Cabana Dominguez
On: 28 July 2020

Can We Use Prebiotics to Treat Anxiety and Depression?

Today, we have increasing evidence suggesting that the microbiota-gut-brain axis has a key role in regulating brain functions, particularly emotional processing and behavior. Many studies have demonstrated that probiotics, such as live bifidobacteria and lactobacilli strains, may reduce anxiety and improve cognition in both rodents and humans. For example, orally administered probiotics have been shown to reduce anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and improve inflammation-associated sickness behavior, among others. However, their effects on the host microbiome are relatively narrow and, as they are live biotherapeutics, it is difficult to produce and store them. An alternative strategy is to make use of prebiotics...

By: Prof. János Réthelyi, Tünde Kilencz
On: 16 July 2020

Mobile Apps for Individuals with ADHD

The effectiveness and safety of treatments in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been proven by reliable scientific studies and meta-analyses. However, next to verified treatments by psychologists and psychiatrists, there also exist many mobile apps that claim to provide treatment or training. Are these as good as they claim? Scientists Păsărelu, Andersson & Dobrean investigated the role of digital health interventions in facilitating access to these treatments and informations, and being promising additions to patients’ therapy, for example by monitoring symptom improvement, giving reminders, or offering up-to-date knowledge about ADHD. The authors collected the existing mobile apps specifically designed for ADHD...

By: Dr. Jeanette Mostert
On: 14 July 2020

How Physical Exercise May Reduce ADHD Symptoms

How physical exercise may reduce ADHD symptoms By Jeanette Mostert We all know that regular physical activity and exercise are good for you. Not only for your physical health, but also for your mental health. We recently wrote about the importance of keeping physically fit during the COVID-19 lockdown period. But can physical exercise also help to reduce symptoms of for instance ADHD? There is some evidence for this, although scientists also agree that much more high quality with large groups of individuals is needed before exercise can be part of any official treatment (Cortese, 2013). We know from scientific...

By: Dr. Manuel Schlipf
On: 8 July 2020

Babies are now legally obligated to consume omega-3 fatty acids

The European Union regulates many things, even including the food intake of our babies. Therefore, since February 2020, the omega- 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoicacid (DHA) has to be added to infant formulas (1) Babies need mother’s milk or an appropriate substitute (infant formulas) as an exclusive source of nutrition in the first months of life.  The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life with continued breastfeeding until the child’s age of 24 months (3). When breastfeeding is not possible, infant formulas are available as a substitute to provide all essential nutrients for adequate...

By: Dr. Karina Rosales Ortiz
On: 4 July 2020

Daily Consumption of Foods Rich in Omega 3 Can Benefit Your Mental Health

You may have heard many times that you should follow a Mediterranean diet to maintain good health. The reason behind this recommendation is because of its dietary pattern, which consists of eating each day the following group of anti-inflammatory foods: legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and lean meats such as chicken, turkey, eggs, and fish. Let me first explain what anti-inflammatory nutrients are and what they do. Anti-inflammatory nutrients are nutrients that, when eaten in the right amounts, can lead to a reduction of inflammation in our body. In previous posts, we have explained how inflammation can be bad for...

By: Yangwenshan Ou
On: 4 July 2020

How Do Kefirs Influence the Gut-Brain Axis?

Kefir, a traditional fermented food, originates from Caucasus mountains. Kefir is easily created by mixing milk with kefir grains. These are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that start the fermentation process. Depending on the composition of the kefir grains, you can create many different kefirs. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word Keyif, which means “good feeling”. Indeed, researchers have found that kefir drinks are related to numerous health benefits, including immunity modulation, cholesterol metabolism, and tumor suppression [1]. Furthermore, kefirs may ameliorate certain psychological issues by modifying the composition of your gut microbiome. Research has shown that...

By: Rebeca Fernández-Carrión
On: 2 July 2020

The Importance of Physical Activity During Lockdown

In the past months, many of us have had to stay home, work from home, and organize social events online, from home. This has led to a great reduction in physical activity, which has negative effects on both our physical and mental health. Moving less can result in gaining weight, and this is especially worrying for people who already have obesity. What’s worse, having obesity is a risk factor for being hospitalized after an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore important that people keep exercising, in addition to following a healthy diet, in...

By: Yvonne Willemsen
On: 2 July 2020

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Globally, between 2013 and 2018, 43% of newborns were breastfed within one hour after birth, and 41% were exclusively breastfed up until six months of age (WHO & UNICEF, 2019). The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years and beyond. Why is that? After birth, breast milk is often the first source of nutrition for an infant. Mother’s milk is fine-tuned to the needs of the developing infant. As such, breastfeeding plays an important role in early development and health. First, breastfeeding...

By: Laura Muller
On: 27 June 2020

Treating Food Intolerance and Allergies with the Elimination Diet

Food intolerances and allergies are a growing public health concern. In fact, it is estimated that between 2-20% of the people worldwide may suffer from food intolerances (2) and may be even more prevalent in Western countries, where food allergies affect up to 10 % of the population, especially younger children (3). If you ever experienced discomfort after ingestion of some foods, you may have come across the term ‘elimination diet’. But what is it and how could this be relevant for you? The elimination dietElimination diet describes a short-term diet that is used as a diagnostic or therapeutic instrument...

By: Elena Koch, Dr. Jeanette Mostert
On: 27 May 2020

How we measure behavior outside of the laboratory

Imagine that you are a researcher who wants to know if daily physical activity training can improve mood and mental health in individuals with ADHD. Ideally – from a research perspective – you would keep these individuals at your laboratory for a couple weeks, monitor everything they do, and ask them repeatedly how they feel. This setting is very controlled, and you are sure that your participants will do the exercise exactly as they are supposed to do. However, spending weeks in a laboratory would be very unpleasant for the research participants, and very unfeasible. The alternative is to make...