Monday, 25 September 2017

Dietary exposure and neurotoxicity of the environmental free and bound toxin β-N-methylamino-l-alanine

Food Research International, 100, 2017, Pages 1-13

The growing evidence supporting a link between exposure to the naturally occurring toxin β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) and progressive neurodegenerative diseases, has recently arisen the interest of the scientific community. Latest investigations suggest that dietary exposure to this algal toxin may have been largely underestimated. This paper reviews the state of the art regarding BMAA, with special attention paid to its neurotoxicity, its concentration levels in food, and human exposure. As for other environmental toxins, dietary intake is most likely the main route of exposure to BMAA for the general population. However, data concerning BMAA levels in foodstuffs are still scarce. It is concluded that further investigations on dietary intake and potential human health effects are clearly necessary to assess the risks to public health associated with BMAA exposure. Some critical remarks and recommendations on future research in this area are provided, which may help to identify approaches to reduce dietary BMAA exposure.