Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of The Blaylock Wellness Report newsletter, is a nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeon, health practitioner, author, and lecturer. He attended the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed his internship and neurological residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. For 26 years, practiced neurosurgery in addition to having a nutritional practice. He recently retired from his neurosurgical duties to devote his full attention to nutritional research. Dr. Blaylock has authored four books, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, and his most recent work, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Find out what others are saying about Dr. Blaylock by clicking here.
Tags: blueberries | flavonoids | aging | brain | degeneration | extract | anthrocyanadins

Blueberries Beat Brain Aging

Thursday, 16 February 2012 09:38 AM Current | Bio | Archive

A number of recent studies have shown that a class of compounds called flavonoids, which are found in commonly eaten plants, can not only slow the age-related degeneration of the brain, but can actually reverse it.

These studies used blueberries in the form of a concentrated extract, which provides very high levels of the beneficial flavonoids, such as anthrocyanadins, that the fruit contains. You can buy this extract in most grocery stores. (Get more information on how other natural supplements can improve your health by reading my newsletter "Extend Your Life: 4 Supplements That Will Help You Live Longer.")

Studies have shown that blueberries improved memory in older mice, including spatial memory, long-term reference memory, and object recognition memory. Researchers have also found that feeding blueberry extracts to rodents greatly improved their ability to navigate mazes.

In another series of studies, James Joseph and his co-workers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston found that concentrated extracts of blueberries, spinach, and strawberries could prevent changes in the aging brains of animals.

These changes, such as calcium accumulation in synapses (the connections between brain cells) are also commonly seen in aging human brains. Blueberry extract had the most potent effect in correcting high synaptic calcium levels.

Accumulation of calcium in the area of the brain called the hippocampus (essential for learning, memory, and behavior) is another common finding in brain-aging studies. This calcium can interfere with memory and cause depression, as well as other behavioral changes. Therefore, a substance that can return hippocampus calcium levels to that of younger animals is a real breakthrough.

Another part of this study examined the cognitive function (thinking) of the animals that were fed these extracts. The researchers found significant improvement of learning ability in animals that were fed the plant extracts. In tests of the ability of the extracts to reduce oxidative stress in the animals’ brains, the researchers found that only the blueberry and strawberry extracts were effective.

Of great importance was the finding that only the blueberry extract improved psychomotor function in the aged animals. This refers to skills that have been performed so often that you don’t have to consciously think about them to perform the action (such as tying your shoes). This benefit would be particularly important for elderly people because weakness and a loss of coordination are common ailments that make life difficult for seniors.

Besides acting as an antioxidant, these plant extracts improve the fluid-like quality of brain neurons, reduce brain inflammation, and reduce activation of microglia (the brain’s immune cells) and the release of brain-destructive chemicals from the microglia.

One way blueberries repair the brain is by stimulating the production of the brain growth factors BDNF and IGF-1. These chemicals repair damaged brain cell connections and stimulate brain plasticity (growth of new circuits).

If we apply the animal study findings to humans, it would require three years of consuming these plant extracts to attain the same effects. That is why it is important to make these dietary changes now and not wait for a neurodegenerative disease to make its appearance.

Find more details on how you can protect your brain from the ravages of dementia by reading my report "Save Your Brain."

For more of Dr. Blaylock’s weekly tips, go here to view the archive.

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Compounds in blueberries known as flavonoids slow decline in brain function that aging causes, according to recent studies.
blueberries,flavonoids,aging,brain,degeneration,extract,anthrocyanadins,Russell Blaylock
Thursday, 16 February 2012 09:38 AM
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