As a general rule, people associate calcium and the consumption of this mineral due to its importance for the health of the bones . And it is not for less, because it is a nutrient essential for the bone structure of the body.
However, calcium is a mineral which performs very important functions. The body needs this mineral for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages from the brain to different parts of the body. Likewise, it is also key for the blood to circulate through the blood vessels throughout the body.
Taking into account the importance of this mineral for the body, researchers have discovered new evidence on the role of calcium for brain health.
Mechanism of obtaining energy from the brain
A team of researchers from The Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Vermont, in the United States, have discovered how the brain communicates with the body’s blood vessels when they need energy.
In the same way, they have shown how these blood vessels act by relaxing and contracting to send blood flow to specific regions of the brain. And that is where calcium plays a key role.
This study has been published in the journal ‘Science Advances’ during the current year 2021. The researchers suggested that understanding how the brain transfers energy to itself with precision could help to find that failures occur in mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This occurs because if the The brain does not get enough blood where it needs it and at the right time, the neurons become stressed and over time cause their deterioration. This ends up causing cognitive impairment and memory problems.
Dr. Thomas Longden, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine explains that “there appear to be two mechanisms working in tandem to ensure that energy in the form of blood reaches specific regions of the brain: one broad and one precise. ”
Importance of calcium in brain health
Taking into account all these factors, the researchers used a protein that emits green light when calcium is increased in the cell. In this way, they were able to activate this innovative tool in the cells that line the blood vessels of the mice.
Thus, those responsible for this study observed through small windows in the brains of the mice. to analyze in depth the role that calcium plays in the control of blood flow in the capillaries of the brain.
In this sense, when the cells that lined the blood vessels of the brain received a flow green light emitted a green light.
During the investigation they detected 5. 000 calcium signals per second in the capillaries of the small visible brain section. In other words, this phenomenon is equivalent to one million signals per second in the entire brain region.
In this regard, Dr. Longden comments that “until we used this new technology, there was a invisible world of calcium signals in the brain that was not seen, and now we can see a great activity in the blood vessels of the brain, which are constantly firing. ”
The co-author of this study, Mark T. Nelson, who states that capillaries were traditionally thought to be simple conduits for red blood cells and the barrier between the blood and the brain. Here we reveal an unknown universe of calcium signaling in capillaries, and like traffic lights, these calcium signals direct vital nutrients to nearby active neurons. ”
This study has not only discovered the way in which calcium influences the blood flow of the brain, if not it has also been determined in some way how the process of obtaining energy by the brain can work.
Thus, Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, affirms that “now they can begin to investigate how blood flow is interrupted in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to find ways to solve it” .