The hippocampus is a part of the brain important for learning and memory, and also for emotional
control. During aging there is a reduction of new nerve growth in the hippocampus and a decline
in IGF-1 levels. IGF-1 in the brain is important for the formation of synapse connections between
nerves for proper brain activity. Kinase activity, an enzyme group that is needed to create energy,
also decreases. Studies indicate that antioxidant rich diets that contain blueberries, a rich
source of polyphenols, improve memory that has declined with aging. In this study it was found that
blueberry supplementation improved the ability of the hippocampus to adapt to changes seen in aging:
nerve production was improved, kinase activity and IGF-1 levels all increased helping to restore
proper function and youth to this important part of the brain. At least part of the improvement in
memory in the aging brain due to blueberry supplementation is due to improved hippocampal health and
activity. This research was performed at the USDA, HNRC on Aging at Tufts University and is published
in the October-December 2004 issue of the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
Pomegranate Polyphenols help decrease hardening of the arteries; studies in humans and mice
special interest to researchers is the relationship between the intake of dietary nutrients
high in polyphenols and decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease. This effect is seen with
the intake of Pomegranate rich in polyphenols. The Pomegranate polyphenols protect the
cardiovascular system in at least two major ways: stabilizing bad LDL-cholesterol thereby
preventing clogging of the arteries, and by directly protecting the lining of blood vessel walls
from the inflammatory activity of cholesterol. Pomegranate polyphenols have been shown to
decrease the ability of inflammatory cells to change LDL into a rancid - inflammation causing fat.
Pomegranate has been shown to inhibit the activation of immune cells in the lining of the blood
vessel walls, thereby decreasing the formation of plaque (the constituent in hardening of the
arteries or atherosclerosis). Pomegranate also triggers greater production by the liver of
paraoxonase enzymes - these enzymes allow HDL to protect the vascular system by increasing its
ability to scoop up LDL-cholesterol. The antioxidant, and antiatherogenic (ability to keep
arteries clean and unclogged) effects of Pomegranate have been demonstrated in vitro (lab studies),
in mice, and in humans. The study review was performed at the Lipid research Laboratory, Rappaport
Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and was
published in the journal Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research.
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