Consuming a healthy diet is a lifestyle factor that has been linked to overall good brain health and reduction in cognitive decline. Cognition refers to the mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge and the integration of these processes into responses such as learning, attention, memory, intelligence and consciousness.1 A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for example, has been found to support cognitive processes in humans, while a diet rich in saturated fat is reported to reduce molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increase the risk of neurological dysfunction.2
Essence of chicken, a popular health supplement in Asia, has also been reported to have a positive effect on brain function. This was demonstrated in a study published in 2013, using a brain imaging method called Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to measure the concentration of oxyhemoglobin in the brain following chicken essence consumption.3
NIRS is a noninvasive brain imaging method that uses infrared light to calculate oxyhemoglobin which provides an indirect measure of brain activity, particularly in the prefrontal cortex that contains areas involved in cognitive functions.4 Meanwhile, as oxyhemoglobin is observed to increase in healthy individuals during cognitive functions, it serves as a good indicator of the cognitive functions during mental activity.
In this study, elderly subjects were assigned to consume essence of chicken or placebo for one week.3 After one week, , they were asked to solve tasks that involved the use of working memory. NIRS brain imaging was performed as participants solved these tasks. Results showed that the essence of chicken group had significant increases in oxyhemoglobin concentrations in the prefrontal areas of the brain while performing working memory tasks. In contrast, the placebo group showed no significant increase.
In summary, results of this study showed that daily consumption of essence of chicken for one week in elderly subjects significantly increased brain blood flow, indicating increased brain activation during the use of working memory.
- Dauncey M. New insights into nutrition and cognitive neuroscience. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2009;68(04):408. doi:10.1017/s0029665109990188
- Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2008;9(7):568-578. di:10.1038/nrn2421
- Konagai C, Watanabe H, Abe K, Tsuruoka N, Koga Y. Effects of essence of chicken on cognitive brain function: a near-infrared spectroscopy study. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(1):178-81.
- Near Infrared Spectroscopy – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics’, accessed 16 November 2018.