Swiss Scientific Study Links Motivation to Certain Foods

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    Eating foods rich in cysteine ​​(meat, fish, chicken, shellfish and, to a lesser extent, eggs, cereals, legumes, onions or broccoli) can influence personal motivation by reducing oxidation in the brain, according to a scientific study published today.

    The research, organized by the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL) together with the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, observed better results in laboratory tests on rodents if they were given a supplement, N-acetylcysteine, which the body can synthesize from the foods mentioned. N-acetylcysteine ​​is at the same time a precursor of one of the most important antioxidants for brain cells, a protein called glutathione, according to the study conducted by the EPFL School of Life Sciences and directed by Professor Carmen Sandy.

    The research measured the levels of oxidation of cells in the accumbens nucleus, an inner area of ​​the brain that scientists believe is involved in regulatory functions that include not only motivation but also aversion, reinforcement and mental rewards. Brain cells produce toxic substances during their neuro-metabolic processes that can contribute to their oxidation, and although there are cleaning mechanisms, sometimes a so-called “oxidative stress” can be produced by excess waste, which according to the study can produce so dreaded demotivation.

    In addition to physical tests in animals, the scientists also measured glutathione levels in the accumbens nucleus in humans, which also allowed them to link the presence of this protein with better results in certain tasks. “In life, motivation can make the difference between success and failure, between having goals and not having them, between well-being and unhappiness”, the EPFL study underlined.

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