Dietary neurotransmitters: A narrative review on current knowledge

Matteo Briguglio, Bernardo Dell’Osso, Giancarlo Panzica, Antonio Malgaroli, Giuseppe Banfi, Carlotta Zanaboni Dina, Roberta Galentino, Mauro Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Foods are natural sources of substances that may exert crucial effects on the nervous system in humans. Some of these substances are the neurotransmitters (NTs) acetylcholine (ACh), the modified amino acids glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and the biogenic amines dopamine, serotonin (5-HT), and histamine. In neuropsychiatry, progressive integration of dietary approaches in clinical routine made it necessary to discern the more about some of these dietary NTs. Relevant books and literature from PubMed and Scopus databases were searched for data on food sources of Ach, glutamate, GABA, dopamine, 5-HT, and histamine. Different animal foods, fruits, edible plants, roots, and botanicals were reported to contain NTs. These substances can either be naturally present, as part of essential metabolic processes and ecological interactions, or derive from controlled/uncontrolled food technology processes. Ripening time, methods of preservation and cooking, and microbial activity further contributes to NTs. Moreover, gut microbiota are considerable sources of NTs. However, the significance of dietary NTs intake needs to be further investigated as there are no significant data on their bioavailability, neuronal/non neuronal effects, or clinical implications. Evidence-based interventions studies should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Article number591
JournalNutrients
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 10 2018

Keywords

  • Acetylcholine
  • Diet
  • Dopamine
  • Food
  • Functional foods
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid
  • Glutamate
  • Gut microbiota
  • Histamine
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Nutrition
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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