Dietary modulation of cortical excitation and inhibition

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The balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain affects both neural responses and behaviour in humans and animals. Here we investigated whether dietary intervention aimed at increasing levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA can influence neural responses to basic sensory stimuli. Using a steady-state EEG paradigm, we found that the neural response to visual patterns was reduced in individuals who consumed a yeast-extract product rich in substances associated with the production of GABA (glutamate and B vitamins), but not in a control group who consumed a placebo substance (N=14 per group). This demonstrates that the balance of excitation and inhibition in the brain can be influenced by dietary interventions, suggesting possible clinical benefits in conditions (e.g. epilepsy) where inhibition is abnormal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-637
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
Early online date4 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

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© 2017, The Author(s). This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • steady-state EEG
  • inhibition
  • GABA
  • diet

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