Flavonoids | Better memory through nutritionMarch 30, 2015 March 30, 2015
More good news about Flavinoids, and if you like cocoa it gets better. Dietary cocoa flavanols—naturally occurring bioactives found in cocoa—reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults, according to a study led by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) scientists. The study, published in the advance online issue of Nature Neuroscience, provides the first direct evidence that one component of age-related memory decline in humans is caused by changes in a specific region of the brain and that this form of memory decline can be improved by a dietary intervention.
As people age, they typically show some decline in cognitive abilities, including learning and remembering such things as the names of new acquaintances or where they parked the car or placed their keys.
This normal age-related memory decline starts in early adulthood but usually does not have any noticeable impact on quality of life until people reach their fifties or sixties.
Age-related memory decline is different from the often-devastating memory impairment that occurs with Alzheimer’s, in which a disease process damages and destroys neurons in various parts of the brain, including the memory circuits.
A cocoa flavanol-containing test drink prepared specifically for research purposes was produced by the food company Mars, Incorporated, which also partly supported the research, using a proprietary process to extract flavanols from cocoa beans. Most methods of processing cocoa remove many of the flavanols found in the raw plant.
In the CUMC study, 37 healthy volunteers, ages 50 to 69, were randomized to receive either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for three months. Brain imaging and memory tests were administered to each participant before and after the study.
Doctors found noticeable improvements in brain function in those who consumed the high-cocoa-flavanol drink.
The high-flavanol group also performed significantly better on the memory test.
Flavanols are also found naturally in tea leaves and in certain fruits and vegetables, but the overall amounts, as well as the specific forms and mixtures, vary widely. The researchers point out that the product used in the study is not the same as chocolate, and they caution against an increase in chocolate consumption in an attempt to gain this effect.
Flavonoids for Alzheimer’s Disease
Also appearing in October 2014 was research that suggets a nutritional approach to prevent, slow, or halt the progression of disease is a promising strategy that has been widely investigated. There is evidence that that nutritional intake may influence the development and progression of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD).
Modifiable, environmental causes of AD include potential metabolic derangements caused by dietary insufficiency and or excess that may be corrected by nutritional supplementation and or dietary modification.
Many nutritional supplements contain a myriad of health promoting constituents (anti-oxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, flavonoids, lipids, …etc.) that may have a role in affecting cellular health and regeneration, the aging process itself, or may specifically disrupt pathogenic pathways in the development of AD.
Nutritional modifications have the advantage of being cost effective, easy to implement, socially acceptable and generally safe and devoid of significant adverse events in most cases. Many nutritional interventions have been studied and continue to be evaluated in hopes of finding a successful agent, combination of agents, or dietary modifications that can be used for the prevention and or treatment of Alzheimers 1
More on Flavonoids
Flavonoids and reduced cardiovascular risk
Flavonoids are plant-based phytochemicals with cardiovascular protective properties. Few studies have comprehensively examined flavonoid classes in relation to cardiovascular disease mortality. Researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the association between flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality among participants in a large, prospective US cohort study.
Fruits, Vegetables, Vitamins, Stroke
New research continues to confirm that a diet rich in anti-oxidants can help protect against stroke.
1.Nutrition and prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia. Front Aging Neurosci. 2014 Oct 20;6:282. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00282. eCollection 2014.