12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Metabolic agents that enhance ATP can improve c...
View graph of relations

« Back

Metabolic agents that enhance ATP can improve cognitive functioning: a review of the evidence for glucose, oxygen, pyruvate, creatine, and L-carnitine.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date08/2011
JournalNutrients
Journal number8
Volume3
Number of pages21
Pages735-755
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Over the past four or five decades, there has been increasing interest in the neurochemical regulation of cognition. This field received considerable attention in the 1980s, with the identification of possible cognition enhancing agents or "smart drugs". Even though many of the optimistic claims for some agents have proven premature, evidence suggests that several metabolic agents may prove to be effective in improving and preserving cognitive performance and may lead to better cognitive aging through the lifespan. Aging is characterized by a progressive deterioration in physiological functions and metabolic processes. There are a number of agents with the potential to improve metabolic activity. Research is now beginning to identify these various agents and delineate their potential usefulness for improving cognition in health and disease. This review provides a brief overview of the metabolic agents glucose, oxygen, pyruvate, creatine, and L-carnitine and their beneficial effects on cognitive function. These agents are directly responsible for generating ATP (adenosine triphosphate) the main cellular currency of energy. The brain is the most metabolically active organ in the body and as such is particularly vulnerable to disruption of energy resources. Therefore interventions that sustain adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels may have importance for improving neuronal dysfunction and loss. Moreover, recently, it has been observed that environmental conditions and diet can affect transgenerational gene expression via epigenetic mechanisms. Metabolic agents might play a role in regulation of nutritional epigenetic effects. In summary, the reviewed metabolic agents represent a promising strategy for improving cognitive function and possibly slowing or preventing cognitive decline.

Bibliographic note

© 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).