There’s plenty to love about Jolly Olde England. They’ve given us pale ales, steak pies, and James Bond.
But there are a few things over there I’ve NEVER understood, especially “Marmite.”
If you’ve never heard of it, be glad.
It’s a weird little salty yeast paste the Brits are just crazy about, usually spreading it over toast with butter.
I’m trying to be polite here — the Queen might be a Dose reader — so I’ll just say it tastes like it was found in a gym sock, left in a dumpster.
But there’s a secret ingredient in this stuff that can help turbo-charge your brain and quite possibly even cut your risk of dementia.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to actually EAT this rot to get the benefit, and I’ll let you in on the secret in a moment.
First, the new study, in which volunteers were told to eat either a teaspoon of Marmite or peanut butter every day. After a month, they were plopped in front of screens and shown flickering images while hooked up to an EEG.
That may sound more like an acid test than a mind quiz, but the brain’s response to the flickering is a key measure of its activity.
And in the folks who had been eating peanut butter, the flickers caused it to get hyped up like a kid who just ate cotton candy.
But the ones who ate Marmite had 30 percent less of that activity, an indication that a key neurotransmitter called GABA was working to keep the brain running smoothly.
They were tested again eight weeks later — nearly TWO MONTHS after they (thank God) stopped eating the Marmite — and there was STILL a boost in GABA activity.
The effects were wearing off, but they were still there.
That’s pretty powerful. And over the long run, that could even help cut the risk of cognitive problems including dementia. GABA has shown so much promise that some researchers think it might even be the key to an Alzheimer’s treatment.
But you don’t have to wait for them to cook up a drug to get the brain-boosting benefits. And like I said earlier, you certainly don’t have to eat Marmite, because it’s not this nasty paste itself causing those brain changes.
It’s a single ingredient, and if you’re a longtime Daily Dose reader, you might already have a suspicion what it is: Vitamin B12.
This brain-friendly essential is already know to help protect and preserve memory, and studies even show that a mix of Bs including B12 can slow or stop the “brain shrink” linked to cognitive decline.
Now, the new study finds that same B12 also causes those incredible GABA-related changes… so if you’re not on a B complex yet, it might be time to get started.