New research from Canada, published in the journal Neuron, reveals that the amino acid asparagine is essential for normal brain development. Its benefits are specific to the brain and and experts have long considered the substance to be non-essential since the body produces it naturally.
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, who found that brain cells depend on the local synthesis of asparagine to function properly.
Spurred on by tragedy
The discovery of the essential nature of asparagine arose out of tragedy. In April 2009, a Quebec family lost one of their sons to a rare genetic disease causing congenital microcephaly, intellectual disability, cerebral atrophy, and refractory seizures. The event was even more tragic because this child was the third infant in this family to die from the same disease.
This tragedy led Dr. Michaud and his team to study the genetic abnormality responsible for this developmental disorder.
The team identified the gene affected by the mutation code for asparagine synthetase, the enzyme responsible for synthesizing the …
Source: NYR Natural News
Photo: Food Poisoning Bulletin