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Blueberries help restore important memory and learning region of aging brain

Apr 07, 2005

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.