Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain
ABSTRACT Increased lifespans have led to population aging and brought attention to healthcare concerns associated with old age. A growing body of preclinical and clinical research has identified neurological benefits associated with the consumption of berry fruits. In addition to their now well-known antioxidant effects, dietary supplementation with berry fruits also has direct effects on the brain. Intake of these fruits may help to prevent age-related neurodegeneration and resulting changes in cognitive and motor function. 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. Recent clinical trials have extended these antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cognition-sparing effects to humans. This paper reviews recent evidence for the beneficial signaling effects of berry fruits on the brain and behavior.
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ABSTRACT: Green tea (GT) displays strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties mostly attributed to (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), while experiments focusing on other catechins are scarce. With the present work we intended to analyze the neuroprotective effects of prolonged consumption of a GT extract (GTE) rich in catechins but poor in EGCG and other GT bioactive components that could also afford benefit. The endpoints evaluated were aging-induced biochemical and morphological changes in the rat hippocampal formation (HF) and behavioral alterations. Male Wistar rats aged 12 months were treated with GTE until 19 months of age. This group of animals was compared with control groups aged 19 (C-19M) or 12 months (C-12M). We found that aging increased oxidative markers but GTE consumption protected proteins and lipids against oxidation. The age-associated increase in lipofuscin content and lysosomal volume was also prevented by treatment with GTE. The dendritic arborizations of dentate granule cells of GTE-treated animals presented plastic changes accompanied by an improved spatial learning evaluated with the Morris water maze. Altogether our results demonstrate that the consumption of an extract rich in catechins other than EGCG protected the HF from aging-related declines contributing to improve the redox status and preventing the structural damage observed in old animals, with repercussions on behavioral performance.Behavioural brain research 03/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.02.040 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In the present study, metabolic changes in secondary metabolites of Fragaria x ananassa Duch. fruits during ripening were evaluated, and in particular the differences between fruits obtained from either organic and conventional, non-organic, crops.Food Research International 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.foodres.2015.04.028 · 3.05 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent evidence from animal and adult human subjects has demonstrated potential benefits to cognition from flavonoid supplementation. This study aimed to investigate whether these cognitive benefits extended to a sample of school-aged children. Using a cross-over design, with a wash out of at least seven days between drinks, fourteen 8-10 year old children consumed either a flavonoid-rich blueberry drink or matched vehicle. Two hours after consumption, subjects completed a battery of five cognitive tests comprising the Go-NoGo, Stroop, Rey’s Auditory Verbal Learning Task, Object Location Task, and a Visual N-back. In comparison to vehicle, the blueberry drink produced significant improvements in the delayed recall of a previously learned list of words, showing for the first time a cognitive benefit for acute flavonoid intervention in children. However, performance on a measure of proactive interference indicated that the blueberry intervention led to a greater negative impact of previously memorised words on the encoding of a set of new words. There was no benefit of our blueberry intervention for measures of attention, response inhibition or visuo-spatial memory. While findings are mixed, the improvements in delayed recall found in this pilot study suggest that, following acute flavonoid-rich blueberry interventions, school aged children encode memory items more effectively.Nutrition 10/2014; 31(3). DOI:10.1016/j.nut.2014.09.013 · 3.05 Impact Factor