Berries Protect the Brain in Several Ways

The 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society held recently in Boston was the site of a presentation by Shibu Poulose, PhD, of the US Department of Agriculture about new findings for berries in protecting aging brains.*

Dr. Poulose studied the brain’s natural “house-cleaning” process, which involves autophagy by cells known as microglia. These cells remove and recycle toxic proteins that can interfere with brain function. “In aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up,” Dr. Poulose explained.

In experiments with mouse cells, Dr. Poulose found that blueberry and strawberry extracts inhibited a protein that interferes with autophagy. “The results strongly suggest that the benefits of both berries extend beyond the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to cellular toxic clearance through induction of autophagy in brain,” concludes a written summary of the findings.

Editor’s note: Blueberry and other berry extracts are currently available as nutritional supplements.

—D. Dye


* 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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