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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;959:128-32.

Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging: nutritional interventions targeting age-related neuronal and behavioral deficits.

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1
USDA-ARS, HNRCA at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA. rachel.galli@simmons.edu

Abstract

Nutritional interventions, in this case, increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, can retard and even reverse age-related declines in brain function and in cognitive and motor performance in rats. Our lab has shown that as Fischer 344 rats age their brains are increasingly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (e.g., blueberry, BB, spinach, respectively) can decrease this vulnerability to oxidative stress as assessed in vivo by examining reductions in neuronal signaling and behavioral deficits and in vitro via H2O2-induced decrements in striatal synaptosomal calcium buffering. Examinations have also revealed that BB supplementations are effective in antagonizing other age-related changes in brain and behavior, as well as decreasing indices of inflammation and oxidative stress in gastrocnemius and quadriceps muscles. In ongoing studies we are attempting to determine the most effective BB polyphenolic components. To date, the anthocyanins show the most efficacy in penetrating the cell membrane and in providing antioxidant protection. In sum, our results indicate that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidant activity may be an important component of a healthy living strategy designed to maximize neuronal and cognitive functioning into old age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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