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.
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