If there was a proven food that could reduce your anxiety, would you take it? No matter if you liked it or not?
Marmite might be such a food as the popular tangy Britsh spread has been linked to people having a healthier brain.
In a study published on Wednesday, psychologists at the University of York in northern England had an experiment with the spread.
The psychologists recruited 28 volunteers and divided them into two groups. Apparently volunteers who had eaten a daily spoonful of Marmite had higher levels of the neuron chemical that is associated with a healthy brain. The other group ate a daily teaspoon of peanut butter.
According to investigators, marmite has high levels of B12.
In the experiment, volunteers had worn non-invasive skullcaps fitted with electrodes to monitor brain activity while they looked at a screen with a visual stimulus. The stimulus was a large stripey pattern that flickered at a regular rate.
Compared to the group that ate peanut butter daily, the marmite group showed a substantial reduction of around 30 percent in response to the stimulus.
The study helps the claim that marmite boosts levels of an important neurotransmitter called gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA).
“This study suggests that eating Marmite is potentially good for you in that it seems to increase a chemical messenger associated with healthy brain function,” lead authors Daniel Baker and Anika Smith told AFP.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages through the brain and the nervous system, and is involved in regulating communication between brain cells.
So how does this link to reducing anxiety?
Many scientists have speculated that GABA can help lessen fear or anxiety. Marmite boosting the levels of GABA may be beneficial to those who have anxiety.
“There could potentially be beneficial effects for people with some neurological disorders linked to GABA,” said Baker and Smith.
“There is no evidence that normal consumption of Marmite has any negative effects,” they said, but they did not give any recommendations on how much of it to eat.