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Lee Berk, Everett Lohman, Gurinder Bains, Kristin Bruhjell, Jessica Bradburn et al.
Nuts are a major source of flavonoids. They are potent antioxidants with known mechanisms that provide cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that absorbed flavonoids penetrate and accumulate in brain hippocampal regions involved in learning and memory. Neurobiological correlates of flavonoids cascade an expression of neuroprotective and neuromodulatory proteins that promote neurogenesis, blood-flow improvement, and angiogenesis supporting brain wellness. However, the correlates of neuroelectric activities that are associated with nut flavonoid effects on neurocognition, neuronal synchronization, memory, recall, mood and behavior are not well known.
Purpose: Provide evidence of a relationship between antioxidant concentration in nuts and electroencephalography (EEG) brain state frequency modulation, specifically gamma wave band frequency 31–40 Hz (γBA).
Methods: A study was conducted using walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, cashews and almonds. EEG Power Spectral Density μV2 (PSD) was acquired during a sequence of enhancing sensory awareness tasks ranging from cognition of past experience, visualization, olfaction, taste, and finally consumption of nuts. EEG wave band activity was recorded from 9 cerebral cortical scalp regions F3, Fz, F4, C3, Cz, C4, P3, Pz and P4 using the FDA approved EEG B-Alert 10X System™, Carlsbad, CA. Second by second 9 bandwidths (BW) were recorded through the study. The PSD BW data were referenced to eyes closed baseline task, and then Z-scored.
Results: Z-scores were graphed and analyzed for each task along with BW across 0–40 Hz. The overall respective BW were collapsed across all 9 EEG channels. With descriptive analysis, the most profound observation was Gamma and Delta wave band frequencies showed the highest PSD response during the TASK of placement of the nuts in mouth (p<0.01). The lowest PSD response for all nuts studied was alpha slow frequency. It was observed that both δBA and γBA were highest for pecans with an antioxidant concentration of 1743 μmoles; followed by walnuts, with an antioxidant concentration of 2772 μmoles; and for cashews, with an antioxidant concentration 48 μmoles.
Conclusion: This study provides objective evidence that PSD for different brain EEG wave bands are modulated differentially by different types of nuts. We propose this protocol as an assessment tool to determine the efficacy of various types of nuts effecting modulation of EEG frequency bands 0–40 Hz & subsequent neurochemical modulation. However, the primary purpose of this study was to focus specifically on δBA 1–3 Hz and γBA 31–40 Hz so as to determine if the suggested benefits of nuts are associated with significant increases in these specific frequencies. These data appear to support an association of nuts’ health benefits with an increase in δBA and γBA. Further research needs to be done to elaborate and understand the significance of these unique frequency patterns and ratios relative to nut consumption and brain health.