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Diet affects children's stress levels
A low-mineral diet can lead to increased stress hormone levels in children. The reason for the increased production of the stress hormone cortisol is the nutritional acid load. Scientists from Gießen and Bonn found this out.
The scientists had previously observed that a regularly increased acid load through the diet is not only associated with a reduced bone stability, but also with higher blood pressure values in children. The latest study results show for the first time a hormonal mechanism through which the quality of nutrition affects our health in the long term.
The hormone study included 200 healthy children who had collected urine for 24 hours without any dietary requirements. In the urine samples from 100 of these children, the scientists measured a low acid excretion via the kidneys (Net Acid Excretion, NAE) before the start of hormone measurements, and a high NAE in the other 100 urine samples. The NAE is considered a reliable biomarker for assessing the net acid exposure of the whole organism.
In the children with high NAE, the researchers found - after excluding all interfering influences such as different urine quantities or protein intake - not only a higher secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. The excretion of specific cellular cortisol remodeling products, such as 6-beta-hydroxycortisol or cortisone, was also significantly increased compared to the children of the low-NAE group.
According to the scientists, these results suggest that cortisol works even under a less pronounced acid load, which is only influenced by nutrition, in target tissues such as the kidney or the bone cells. They assume that the glucocorticoid hormones, i.e. cortisol and cortisone, play an important role in mediating long-term adverse nutritional influences on the skeletal system and other relevant health parameters. The original study can be found here.