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Berries Nourish the BrainBerries Nourish the Brain

Jon Benninger

November 11, 2009

1 Min Read
Berries Nourish the Brain

LAS VEGASUSDA researcher Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., concluded eating berries nourishes the aging brain and may even reverse age-related deficits in her presentation at SupplySide West Nov. 11. Studies by the USDA and other researchers suggest that polyphenolics in blueberries, strawberries and other fruits may offer these benefits due to their antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects.

Shukitt-Hale presented summaries of a variety of studies that examined how adding these berries to the diet impacts behavior, learning, memory and other areas. The studies even hinted that different berries affect different parts of the brain. For example, one set of studies suggest the polyphenolic compounds in blueberries may work mainly in the striatum, while those in strawberries seem to mainly affect the hippocampus.

She said that it is possible that the polyphenolics in berries may have direct effects on the brain by directly increasing signaling and neurogenesis. This idea goes beyond the commonly accepted value of berries for their antioxidant effects.

Based on the science presented, Shukitt-Hale concluded that strengthening the brain with high antioxidant fruit supplementation may have important implications for use in conjunction with conventional therapies for Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases.

About the Author(s)

Jon Benninger


Jon Benninger is vice president and market leader at Informa Markets. He focuses on the strategic direction and growth of the SupplySide portfolio, which includes SupplySide West, SupplySide East, Natural Products Insider and Food & Beverage Insider. He coordinates with leaders of the other Informa health and nutrition events and brands, including Natural Products Expo, Vitafoods, Food ingredients, NEXT and Nutrition Business Journal. Benninger joined the company in 1995 as the founding editor of the company’s first trade magazine for the nutrition industry.

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