By now, most everybody knows that eating berries is good for one’s health. The consensus is that the benefit is in the antioxidants the berries contain. For an in depth story on the role antioxidants play in your body’s biochemistry see our post [1]

The research we are bringing to your attention was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry [2]. Much of what follows are extracts of this complex study that will summarize the results.

Quoting the Journal:” Intake of these fruits may help to prevent age-related neurodegeneration and resulting changes in cognitive and motor function.”

That is new, and more precise, than the berries and antioxidants story. Brain health and aging, I am sure this got the attention of a lot of people now…

Can my brain resist those berries?

But how would the berries work their magic? Quoting again from [2]:

“… In cell and animal models, berry fruits mediate signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell survival in addition to enhancing neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age- and pathology-related deficits in behavior…”

The berries contain ;

  • phenolic compounds, particularly anthocyanins.  When phenolic compounds are introduced to biological systems, they show antiallergic, antianxiety, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative, antitumorigenic, and antiviral properties.
  • Anthocyanins, were found to inhibit both MAO subtypes in vitro. MAO, or Monoamine Oxydase are involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Berry extracts have compounds that protect Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. The compounds may also normalize calcium buffering and promote optimal regulation of neurotransmission during aging.
  • Phytochemicals present in berry fruits may prevent age-related disruption in calcium homeostasis
  • Blueberry suppresses stress pathways and preserves calcium homeostasis, even in the presence of stressors.

In conclusion the evidence is overwhelming that berries will help protect your brain from aging related issues. However the detail of which compounds are actually at work needs work.

So, may I suggest a nice amount of berry mixture in your diet? You bet!

Talk to your health professional about your individual needs and restrictions!

Sources:

  1. medinewsdigest.com ; antioxidants;  part I; from your food ; Feb 2012
  2. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry ; “”Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain”, jan. 2012

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