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Medical Question about Nutrition and Brain Development

  1. Sep 1, 2008 #1
    Hey, I just had a quick question. If I was wasn't given the proper nutrition when I was grown up like most people (I'm 19 now), does that mean that if I was given the proper nutrition that I'd be smarter than I am right now?

    Would this lack of nutrition cause make brain to develop more slowly that normal, making me not as smart now?

    Also, if this is correct, does that mean I can never get that potential intelligence back, or will my brain still grow and develop now as it would have when I was younger as long as it gets the right nutrition?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2008 #2
    First of all, to answer your question, yes certain types of nutrition are beneficial to brain growth (eat your fishies!). Someone else can elaborate on this further, because things like folic acid when you are still in the womb etc also have an effect.

    Second of all, your prefrontal cortex actually does not stop developing until you are around 24. This is visible as your views of things will change.

    Of course I'm being quite general here. Hopefully someone will drop by and articulate this.
  4. Oct 30, 2008 #3
    yes, of course, and it's probably a huge factor in mental disparities between rich and poor nations, and rich and poor people in a given nation.

    a few things i am aware of: cobalamin, choline, DHA, and maybe zinc. fish, eggs, liver, and lean meats would all be great pregnancy foods. folate, that is necessary for neural development and growth could be obtained from fruits and vegetables. alcohol is a poison that can cause retardation, so avoid it.

    and environment is important. mental stimulation should be as rich and varied as the diet. without the right stimulation at the right time, some mental abilities may not develop fully.
  5. May 6, 2009 #4
    There are some studies that point to omega-3-fatty acids or polyunsaturated fatty acids having a positive intelligence-increasing effect at all ages, although one cannot make up for everything missed during fetal development or childhood. see my article series on intelligence increase on http://www.captainmnemo.net and esp. my article "Intelligence increase by nutrition".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  6. Sep 2, 2009 #5
    This also leads to another question. Since nutrition is highly important for an infant during its time in the womb, each mother will eat different types of food for different children. Take for example, I am the eldest of three in my family. When my mother had me, she had a huge craving for meat. A LOT of meat. However when it came to my sisters it was sweet items and vegetables respectively. Is there a correlation between the preferential hunger that a mother faces when having a child to what the child needs for nutrition?
  7. Sep 4, 2009 #6
    that's a really good question. my mother had cravings for prunes when she carried me. and i do like prune juice. it is the drink of a warrior, you know.
  8. Sep 5, 2009 #7
    Haha, right you are. But my question still stands, does anyone know of any paper being researched on the correlation of a mother's preferential hunger and development of the child in the womb? How and What decides the sudden urge of the mother to start to eat foods that are based on the connections of her child? Personally I think it's thought-provoking, it exists indefinitely with every expectant mother, but I really can't find any paper done on it.
  9. Sep 5, 2009 #8


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    I didn't find much. I don't think it has been systematically studied (might be difficult since food cravings and aversions vary so much during pregnancy and would be impossible to control in a study). Though, I did find this one article about the development of food aversions.
    Link to the abstract so you can go to the full article if you're interested: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...nel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
    What it seems to be suggesting is that the nausea and vomiting are just due to pregnancy in general, not to any particular food eaten. But, when either is experienced coincidentally with eating a particular food, a conditioned taste aversion develops as we somehow misinterpret (not necessarily consciously) the nausea as caused by that food.
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