Blueberries May Boost Memory
In Older Adults, According to New Study
Naturally-rich source of key Antioxidants, Flavonoids and
Phytonutrients beneficial to cognitive and mental function...
Supplemental blueberries for only 12 weeks may boost memory in older people with early memory problems, says a new study from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. The direct and indirect cost of Alzheimer care is over $100 billion in the US alone.
"These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration" reported the researchers from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.
Blueberry consumption has previously been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer's, with reports leading to a boom in sales.
The beneficial effects of the blueberries are thought to be linked to their flavonoid content... In particular anthocyanins and flavanols. The exact way in which flavonoids affect the brain are unknown, but they have previously been shown to cross the blood brain barrier after dietary intake.
It is believed that blueberries may exert their effects on learning and memory by enhancing existing neuronal connections, improving cellular communications and stimulating neuronal regeneration.
The researchers recruited nine older people (average age of 76.2 ) and an average educational level of 15-16 years. Subjects were assigned to receive a daily dose of blueberry juice equivalent to between 6 and 9 mL per kilogram of body weight per day.
Results showed significant improvements in improved learning and word list recall. There was also a trend towards reduced depressive symptoms and lower glucose levels. The researchers further expressed that it would be interesting in future studies to examine if changes in cognitive function are associated with metabolic improvements.
"Replication of the findings in a larger, controlled trial will be important to corroborate and amplify these data," wrote the researchers. "On balance, this initial study establishes a basis for further human research of blueberry supplementation as a preventive intervention with respect to cognitive aging," they concluded.
The other researchers were affiliated with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and Tufts University.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Published online "Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults"