Various investigations have established a relationship between diet and brain development and/or functions. Some examples of this relationship are neural tube defects (neural tube in the embryo gives rise to the central nervous system, hence abnormal development of the neural tube can produce congenital malformations of the nervous system) during early pregnancy due to folate deficiency, effect of essential fatty acid deficiency during gestation and postnatal (after birth) life on the development of visual function in infants. The effects of tryptophan or tyrosine (components of protein) intake on the production of the neurotransmitters (certain chemicals secreted from the nerve fibre) has also been observed.
To prevent the above-mentioned deficiencies, these nutrients (i.e. folic acid, essential fatty acids, tryptophan or tyrosine) may be included in the dietary supplements. However, such supplements should always be taken in consultation with the physician and/or nutritionist.