Berries and brain health: What do we know so far?

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cognition Cognitive decline Cognitive function Cognitive health

Early studies on animals have linked consumption of polyphenol-rich berries to improvements in some cognitive markers. This has warranted studies on humans, and results are shedding more light on how berries may benefit our brain health.

The first session at the Berry Health Benefits Symposium in Portland, OR, last week focused on berries and brain health.

Chairing the session was Dr Barbara Shukitt Hale, a USDA staff scientist in the laboratory of Neuroscience and Aging, USDA-ARS, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

“Some of the interesting findings we learned today were not only do these things have effects on the brain itself, but they also affect things in the periphery like the gut microbiota, that seems to impact cognition down the stream,” ​she told us.

“So it’s not just what’s going on in the brain, which is important, but it’s also how other factors in the body can influence that as well.”

Presenters in the session included Dr Daniel Lamport of the University of Reading in the UK, who talked about the chronic effects of a wild blueberry intervention on cognition and urinary metabolites in 7-10 year old children.

Dr Chris Gill of the University of Ulster presented his study on the impact of raspberries on vascular architecture and cognitive function in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr David Vauzour of the University of East Anglia presented on the impact of berry polyphenols on the gut-brain axis; and finally Dr Louise Dye of the University of Leeds presented about the effects of berry polyphenols on cognitive function in adults in the context of other plant based ingredients.

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