Brain and Behavior

Impact of Environment on the Brain

How does nutrition affect the brain?

The brain essentially quadruples in weight from birth to adulthood. Although there is a peak period of synaptogenesis (creation of new synapses) in the first two years of life, synaptogenesis continues rapidly throughout a child’s first decade. All this growth takes fuel. Just as the spurt in the body’s growth during adolescence takes fuel (and A most parents can attest to the enormous amount of food their adolescent sons take in), brain growth also takes fuel. Therefore, if there is inadequate nutrition, brain growth in childhood will be hampered. Moreover, when children are hungry, their concentration is impacted and their ability to learn in school or in any other environment will suffer accordingly. Although it seems to make intuitive sense that the quality of food will also affect brain development during childhood, the research is less robust on the effect of specific diets on learning.


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