Mental energy: plausible neurological mechanisms and emerging research on the effects of natural dietary compounds

O’Connor, Patrick J., Kennedy, David and Stahl, Stephen (2021) Mental energy: plausible neurological mechanisms and emerging research on the effects of natural dietary compounds. Nutritional Neuroscience, 24 (11). pp. 850-864. ISSN 1028-415X

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Objective: Lack of mental energy is one of the leading reasons adults turn to dietary supplements, with three out of ten supplement users hoping to improve their energy level; even more consume caffeine-containing products for the same reason. Despite this interest from consumers, there is no consensus scientific definition of mental energy or sole validated instrument for measuring it. We performed this review to summarize main findings from research regarding the influence of natural dietary compounds on three aspects of mental energy: cognition (vigilance), motivation (to do mental work), and mood (feelings of energy and/or absence of feelings of fatigue). Methods: A narrative review of key papers. Results: In addition to caffeine, a number of other compounds, including the polyphenols, which are found in all plant-derived products, and the phytochemicals in culinary herbs and herbal products such as Panax ginseng and Ginkgo biloba, have been shown in animal models to modulate neurotransmitter activity potentially relevant to mental energy. Inadequate intake of B vitamins could also potentially have a negative effect on mental energy due to their role in overall energy production, as precursors of key cofactors in the citric acid cycle, as well as their role in brain function and neurotransmitter synthesis. Consumption of some of these products may have direct or indirect effects on one or more elements of mental energy. Conclusion: Large, prospective clinical trials of these products using appropriate, validated instruments designed to measure mental energy may be worthwhile if sufficient evidence exists to justify such trials.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: Medical writing support was provided by Dennis Stancavish of Peloton Advantage, LLC, an OPEN Health company, and was funded by Pfizer. On August 1, 2019, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare became part of GSK Consumer Healthcare.
Uncontrolled Keywords: B vitamins, caffeine, Cognition, Ginkgo biloba, mood, motivation, Panax ginseng
Subjects: B400 Nutrition
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2019 14:26
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2021 14:34

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