Spreading Marmite can prevent dementia

08 April 2017

Love it or hate it, there’s now no denying that Marmite has some super health benefits.

It’s a food that divides most people, but the yeast extract brown paste has been shown to prevent memory problems linked to dementia - so maybe now's the time to start spreading it on to your morning toast!

A new study has found that Marmite’s high vitamin B12 content increases levels of chemicals which can protect against neurological disorders.

A team from York University studied 28 men and women, tracking their brain activity with electroencephalography (EEG) scans. The team were split into two, with half consuming Marmite and the others eating peanut butter, which also has impressive levels of vitamin B12.

Read more: Three cups of coffee a day keeps dementia away

It was found that the Marmite group, who ate a teaspoon of the spread every day for a month, had a 30 percent reduction in their brain’s response to visual stimuli. The team explain that the drop in response appeared to be due to increased levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. GABA is a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain and its natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurones to which it binds. It effectively turns down the volume of brain response, therefore helping to maintain the right balance for a healthy brain.

“I suppose you could say it calmed the brain, and we think this is because the B12 vitamin in Marmite fuels production of GABA,” study co-author Dr Daniel Baker noted of the results.

Read more: Exercise could reverse early stage dementia

“We wanted to find a food that boosts the brain’s main neurotransmitter. Deficiencies in it have been linked with a host of neurological disorders.”

Results have been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and the team is now hoping to look at patients with neurological disorders to see if eating Marmite improves their condition.

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