Diet-brain connections: Role of neurotoxicants

L. G. Costa, M. Guizzetti, A. Vitalone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In certain cases, the consumption of food or beverages can lead to intoxication and disease. Such food-induced intoxications may be due to microbial toxins, to toxic substances naturally occurring in some foods, or to contaminants or residues of various kinds. Some of these agents have neurotoxic properties and may contribute to the etiology of certain psychiatric disorders or neurodegenerative diseases. This paper reviews a selected number of dietary neurotoxicants that naturally, or as a result of human interventions, find their way into food or beverages, and have been associated with neurotoxic outcomes in humans. Chosen examples include domoic acid, a phycotoxin associated with amnesic shellfish poisoning; β-N-oxalylamine-l-alanine (l-BOAA), present in chickling peas and believed to be responsible for neurolathyrism; and two alcohols, methanol and ethanol, which can cause severe neurotoxic effects in adults and the developing fetus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Domoic acid
  • Ethanol
  • Methanol
  • Neurotoxicants
  • β-N-oxalylamine-l-alanine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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