Marmite isn't exactly a household name on this side of the pond, but many Brits are keen on the sticky, salty yeast extract that's a byproduct of brewing beer. Now it turns out their brains may be healthier for consuming the syrupy comestible, which has a "love it or hate it" rep.
Scientists at the University of York have found a potential link between eating Marmite and brain activity via an apparent increase of a chemical messenger associated with healthy brain function.
Study participants who ate a teaspoon of Marmite daily for a month were compared with a control group who consumed peanut butter. The Marmite imbibers showed an increase of vitamin B12, which increases GABA, a neurotransmitter that inhibits the excitability of neurons in the brain, effectively 'turning down the volume' of neural responses, which regulates the delicate balance of brain activity and mental focus.
"This is a really promising first example of how dietary interventions can alter cortical processes," said Anika Smith, a Ph.D. student in York's psychology department and first author of the study.
The effects of the Marmite consumption took about eight weeks to wear off, which suggests dietary choices could be leveraged to maintain a healthy brain. However, Outliers can't guarantee how long the aftertaste will linger from the concoction, which a BBCAmerica employee roped into a taste test said "tastes like salty beefy fermented soy sauce."