Originally published April 19 2010
Another Study Confirms Memory-Boosting Effect of Blueberries
by Marek Doyle
(NaturalNews) As the prevalence of dementia continues to rise, a recent study has demonstrated that a common food may have a role to play in the prevention and treatment of the condition. A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that blueberries had a measurable improvement in learning and world list recall, which backs up a 2008 study with the same conclusions.
Dr Krikorian recruited nine elderly subjects with an average age of 76.2 and gave them a daily dose of wild blueberry juice; the subjects received between 6 and 9ml per kilo of bodyweight, which would equate to around 525ml per day in the average 70kg/155lb man. The memory improvements were compared to the performance of a separate demographically-matched group who consumed a placebo drink, ruling out any doubt that the observed changes in memory were attributable to practice effects.
"Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, which have beneficial health effects, they are being examined in many research projects," said Donal O'Mathuna after looking at the study results. "Blueberries are a nutritious and safe food... adding blueberries to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is warranted."
What was particularly interesting was the effect the blueberry juice had in lowering both depressive symptoms and glucose levels in the blood. Whether a reduced level of insulin was related to the impressive results in mental function are not yet clear, but the study strongly supports the idea that flavonoids such as anthocyanins, previously thought to function as purely an antioxidant in the human body, have wide-reaching effects in human health.
In 2008, researchers at the University of Reading found that the anthocyanins in blueberries activate the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. At the time, Dr Jeremy Spencer commented: "Scientists have known of the potential health benefits of diets rich in fresh fruits for a long time. Our research provides scientific evidence to show that blueberries are good for you and supports the idea that a diet-based approach could potentially be used to increase memory capacity. We will be taking these findings to the next level by investigating the effects of diets rich in flavonoids on individuals suffering from cognitive impairment and possibly Alzheimer's disease."
Despite the failure of mainstream medicine in dealing with dementia, it may be too much to hope for that doctors will agree with Spencer's view and adopt a dietary approach in the management of these problematic conditions. Meanwhile, those keen to prevent cognitive decline, or to help manage the condition in others, may take heart from the confirmation that healthy foods may do more than simply keep their waistline in check.
Krikorian et al (2009). Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
About the authorMarek Doyle is a London personal trainer, nutritionist and the pioneer of the Combined Allergy Test, with locations serving Kensington, Chelsea, West London and Basingstoke. Marek runs Blueprint Fitness, edits theAdrenal Fatigue Focus website and has been recognised as one of the top three trainers in the country and counts world champion athletes, models and TV celebrities amongst his clientele.
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