Nutrients for executive function development and related brain connectivity in school-aged children

Nutr Rev. 2021 Nov 10;79(12):1293-1306. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa134.


Executive functions refer to a set of higher-order cognitive processes involved in the control and organization of information to serve goal-directed behaviors. Skills in executive functioning are developed throughout childhood and adolescence and have been shown to be predictive of academic achievement. The coordination of these complex processes is critically dependent on brain maturation and connectivity, including key neurodevelopmental processes like myelination and synaptogenesis. Among other factors, research highlights the influential effect of nutrition and diet on these neurodevelopmental processes, which may impact executive function performance in healthy and deficient populations. This review considers the research to date on the role of key nutrients that have been identified for executive function development and their underlying neurophysiological processes in school-aged children.

Keywords: brain development; cognitive function; myelination; nutrition; synaptogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain
  • Child
  • Educational Status
  • Executive Function*
  • Humans
  • Nutrients*
  • Schools