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- Blueberries -

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This article has some eye catching claims from studies with mice and blueberry extract. Among all the claims, the performance of blueberry extract fed mice with amyloid plaque along with blueberries' potential for neurogenesis and diminishing inflammation are particularly noteworthy. I remember reading years ago that Dr. J. Joseph was so impressed with some findings with blueberries that he added them to his diet daily.

Food for the Aging Mind
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
...Examination of the brain tissue of those blueberry-fed rats showed much higher levels of dopamine than were found in the other groups. Dopamine has many functions within the brain. In particular, it can affect the way the brain controls movements.

“We suspected that the combined antioxidant potency of compounds in blueberry extract may have reduced inflammatory compounds in the brains of these older animals,” says Joseph. “Inflammation ordinarily contributes to neuronal and behavioral shortfalls during aging.”

Tests have since shown that blueberry compounds cross the blood-brain barrier and localize in rodent brain tissue...

Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Tuesday, February 03, 2009 by: Barbara L. Minton, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Not much is better than a bowl of fresh blueberries. Bursting with flavor and sweetness, low in calories, and packed with nutrients and antioxidants, these tiny fruits are anti-aging superstars. There is however one word of caution. Blueberries lose their power when eaten with milk.

...A study reported in the August, 2008 journal Nutrition and Neuroscience looked at cognitive impairment in age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's as being due to long-term exposure and increased susceptibility to inflammatory insults. They investigated whether polyphenols in blueberries could reduce the deleterious effects of induced inflammation.

Rats were fed a diet that included a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or a 2 percent blueberry diet. After two weeks and behavioral evaluation, the rats were examined and total RNA from the hippocampus was extracted to analyze the expression of inflammation-related genes. The researchers found the blueberry diet was able to improve cognitive performance to a much greater degree than was the NSAID diet. Blueberry eaters showed a reduction in several factors influencing the inflammatory response. They concluded that blueberry polyphenols can lessen learning impairments resulting from neurotoxic insult and exert anti-inflammatory actions, perhaps by alteration of gene expression.

Other studies have found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging animals, making them mentally equivalent to animals much younger.

That's the not so good news from a study presented in this article if it makes it inconvenient to prepare a serving/dose. It's been reported that milk/protein will have harmful effects on green tea also. The better part of the article tells of a study with rats looking at blueberries in relation to inflammation and cognitive performance.

I'm certainly pleased to find out all of these good tasting things like blueberries, cinnamon, coconut, and even tea are good for you. It would be a bummer if it were things like cloves and radishes.

When they say, "Blueberry eaters showed a reduction in several factors influencing the inflammatory response", I wonder what those "factors" are? I'm going to have to look into it. What I'm wondering about is if TNF-alpha is affected. This would then tie into chronic infection and Enbrel.

More articles about blueberry extract:

Blueberry Extracts Boost Brain Function
By Rosalie Marion Bliss
August 8, 2007

A single dietary change has allowed laboratory animals with a genetic tendency toward Alzheimer's disease to perform as well as healthy peers in maze tests. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists noted the diet-induced behavioral differences in the Alzheimer's-prone animals after feeding them blueberry extracts from the equivalent of their early adulthood to early middle age...

Blueberry Juice Improves Memory in Older Adults
ScienceDaily (Jan. 21, 2010)
Scientists are reporting the first evidence from human research that blueberries -- one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants and other so-called phytochemicals -- improve memory. They said the study establishes a basis for comprehensive human clinical trials to determine whether blueberries really deserve their growing reputation as a memory enhancer... In the study, one group of volunteers in their 70s with early memory decline drank the equivalent of 2-2 l/2 cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day for two months. A control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice. The blueberry juice group showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests, the scientists say...

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Updated: July 2, 2012
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