Neurobiological Nourishment

At the Soul Compass, we believe an integrative approach to wellness is best. Nutrition plays a key role in mental and physical health and it is often an overlooked component in the treatment plan.

 

Our wellness counsellors are qualified to offer you a neurobiological nutritional wellness program as an adjunct to your current mental health plan or as an alternative approach to wellness.

Tiffany is a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider (CMHIMP).

Here is an excerpt from Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

(Gómez-Pinilla F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 9(7), 568–578.)

 

Although food has classically been perceived as a means to provide energy and building material to the body, its ability to prevent and protect against diseases is starting to be recognized. In particular, research over the past 5 years has provided exciting evidence for the influence of dietary factors on specific molecular systems and mechanisms that maintain mental function. For instance, a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is garnering appreciation for supporting cognitive processes in humans1 and upregulating genes that are important for maintaining synaptic function and plasticity in rodents2. In turn, diets that are high in saturated fat are becoming notorious for reducing molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increasing the risk of neurological dysfunction in both humans3 and animals4.

 

Although these studies emphasize the important effect of food on the brain, further work is necessary to determine the mechanisms of action and the conditions for therapeutic applications in humans.

Over thousands of years, diet, in conjunction with other aspects of daily living, such as exercise, has had a crucial role in shaping cognitive capacity and brain evolution (BOX 1). Advances in molecular biology have revealed the ability of food-derived signals to influence energy metabolism and synaptic plasticity and, thus, mediate the effects of food on cognitive function, which is likely to have been crucial for the evolution of the modern brain. Feeding habits have been intrinsically associated with the development of human civilization, as people’s choice of what to eat is influenced by culture, religion and society. The newly discovered effects of food on cognition are intriguing for the general public, as they might challenge preconceptions, and they attract substantial interest from the media. The fact that feeding is an intrinsic human routine emphasizes the power of dietary factors to modulate mental health not only at the individual level, but also at the collective, population-wide level. Here I discuss the effects of both internal signals that are associated with feeding and dietary factors on cell metabolism, synaptic plasticity and mental function (FIG. 1).

 

Throughout I use the term cognition from a neurobiological perspective, to refer to the mental processes that are involved in acquiring knowledge and to the integration of these processes into the conscious aspect of emotions, which influences mood and has psychiatric manifestations5.