D1 | Abstract 05

Annual NUTRIM Symposium 18 November 2020


A systematic review on the effects of dietary factors on human BDNF concentrations

Gravesteijn, E, Mensink, RP, and Plat, J 1

1 Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences, NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Higher concentrations of the protein brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are associated with improved cognitive performance. Therefore, it is relevant to examine whether the consumption of specific dietary factors can increase BDNF concentrations. We have systematically reviewed controlled intervention studies in order to assess the potential link between various dietary factors and BDNF concentrations in humans.

A literature search in May 2020 identified 48 articles describing the effects of the following dietary factors: dietary patterns or foods (n=3), diets based on energy intake (n=7), vitamins and minerals (n=7), polyphenols (n=11), long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n=5), probiotics (n=8), and miscellaneous food supplements (n=7). Peripheral BDNF concentrations increased upon interventions within the cluster ‘dietary patterns or foods’, in particular whole grain rye kernel-based bread and mold fermented cheese, and within the cluster ‘polyphenols’, in particular phenolic acids and other phenolic compounds. The mechanism of action underlying the effects of a sufficient dose of polyphenols could be an activation of the cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) and Akt signaling pathways.

The other dietary factors did not show a consistent effect on BDNF. A possible reason for the absence of clear patterns could be whether serum or plasma was used for analyzing BDNF concentrations. Since most of the BDNF is stored in platelets, serum contains higher BDNF concentrations because it is released from the platelets during clotting. Therefore, in interventions that affect clotting behavior, the use of either plasma or serum might influence the potential findings for BDNF. Finally, future studies should focus on understanding the link between peripheral and central BDNF concentrations.

NUTRIM | School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism
NUTRIM aims to contribute to health maintenance and personalised medicine by unraveling lifestyle and disease-induced derangements in metabolism and by developing targeted nutritional, exercise and drug interventions. This is facilitated by a state of the art research infrastructure and close interaction between scientists, clinicians, master and PhD students.