Scientists have recently discovered a protein in bacon that is linked to increased cognitive performance.
The protein, called Secondary Carnitine Polypeptide (SCP), releases hormones that increase blood flow to the brain, thus improving transmission time between neurons and allowing for more neurons to fire simultaneously. The result is enhanced mental clarity in tasks focused on sequential reasoning and abstraction.
“It’s like dousing your brain cells in Gatorade,” said Dr. Christopher P. Boaranski, director of research and founder of the SCP Research Lab in Upstate New York. “Instead of tiring out and having a prolonged refractory period between firing, the SCPs are able to transmit several signals before needing a rest, and even then, there is a shorter ‘recharge’ time before they’re ready to fire again.”
To measure SCP’s effectiveness, Dr. Boaranski and his colleagues organized a blind cross-sectional longitudinal study of 240 students from a local college campus. Each student was assigned to a diet that included either two pounds of cooked crispy bacon meat a day or the caloric equivalent in other, SCP-“weak” foods such as tofu or turkey bacon. Another group was used as a control and received no change in their diet. The students then took weekly aptitude tests that measured their ability in areas of math, language and memory as well as cognitive reaction times.
“In the control group, we saw a 3 to 7 percent score improvement over the course of the study. These results were anticipated, as the average person improves cognitively with repetitive testing,” said Dr. Boaranski. “In the bacon meat group, we saw a 28 to 48 percent improvement, which is incredible for just a single dietary modification. In the group that ate the SCP-‘weak’ foods (tofu and turkey bacon), we actually documented a decrease of minus 13 percent in cognitive ability.”
This discovery comes in the wake of the World Health Organization publishing a study last year that showed diets with large consumptions of red meats to be associated with an increase in cancer diagnoses.
“We certainly don’t suggest anyone go out and start consuming pounds and pounds of bacon each day… there are some real disadvantages to overconsuming bacon,” said Dr. Boaranski. “But, as it turns out, bacon not only tastes amazing, it also makes you way smarter than people who don’t eat it.”
The next step is to isolate the protein into a powder for use as a nutritional supplement. This could help combat “lifter’s lurgy,” the post-workout fogginess bodybuilders experience while trying to add up the number of sets they’ve done, or be used as a pre-test stimulant for students.
Dr. Boaraski says he has already received interest in pre-orders for the powder prior to development. Since the powder would fall under the category of a natural supplement, there would be no requirements to have the substance approved by the FDA, thus greatly accelerating the time it will take for the powder to be available in the retail market.
“We are very eager to start putting SCP into other products,” Dr. Boaranski says. “There’s a whole new industry opening up here, and we certainly don’t want to be caught wallowing in the mud.”
For more information about the SCP Research Lab, please visit here.