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Strawberry, Blueberry and Spinach Reverse Age-Related Neurological Dysfunction

Neuronal and behavioral declines are often a consequence of aging. Although the major factors involved in these declines remain uncertain, recent research suggests that reductions in the ability to combat the long-term effects of oxidative stress may play a role, as evidenced in diseases of aging such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

Because oxidative stress may contribute to neuronal and behavioral changes, and antioxidants are known to reduce oxidative stress, the authors of this study investigated the potential for three specific antioxidant supplements (blueberries, strawberries or spinach) to reverse age-related deficits in various neuronal and behavioral parameters. Strawberries and spinach were mixed with water in a 2:1 ratio, and blueberries were prepared in a similar manner in a 1:1 ratio, providing a 400-gram sample. This preparation was fed to 344 19-month-old rats for eight weeks. A fourth group served as controls and received no supplementation. (Rats generally show signs of neuronal/behavioral degeneration after 15 months.)

All three groups supplemented with antioxidant extracts showed reduced deficits compared with the control group. As the authors conclude, " addition to their known beneficial effects on cancer and heart disease, phytochemicals present in antioxidant-rich foods may be beneficial in reversing the course of neuronal and behavioral aging."

Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Denisova NA, et al. Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. Journal of Neuroscience, Sept. 15, 1999:19(18), pp8114-21.


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Date Last Modified - Monday, 27-Jul-2009 09:13:53 PDT