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Meat, Egg And Dairy nutrient Play an Essential In Brain Development

Update Date: Nov 25, 2013 09:51 AM EST

Additional asparagine, which is produced naturally in the body, is required for brain growth, a new research finds. The consumption of asparagine, found in foods like meat, eggs and other dairy nutrients could be beneficial.

“The cells of the body can do without it because they use asparagine provided through diet. Asparagine, however, is not well transported to the brain via the blood-brain barrier,” said senior co-author of the study Dr. Jacques Michaud in a press release.

Dr. Michaud found that brain cells depended on the local synthesis of asparagine to function properly.

Three years ago a Quebec family experienced one of the worst tragedies that parents could experience: before the age of one, one of their sons died of a rare genetic disease causing congenital microcephaly, intellectual disability, cerebral atrophy, and refractory seizures. It was the third death of a child in the family with same disease.

After this tragic incident Dr. Michaud started researching the genetic abnormality responsible for this developmental disorder.

“We are not at the verge of a miracle drug,” Michaud said. “But we at least know where to look.”

By far, the team was able to identify the gene affected by the mutation code for asparagine synthetase. Also, they identified the enzyme that is responsible for synthesizing the amino acid asparagine.

“In healthy subjects, it seems that the level of asparagine synthetase in the brain is sufficient to supply neurons,” Michaud added in the press release. “In individuals with the disability, the enzyme is not produced in sufficient quantity, and the resulting asparagine depletion affects the proliferation and survival of cells during brain development.”

The research has been carried out by researchers at the University of Montreal.

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