Sales of blueberries are soaring (and so is the cost!) and this may be one reason why… Eating a diet rich in blueberries may reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders relating to ageing – if the results of this latest animal experiment can be repeated in humans!
The researchers fed rats either a diet containing 2 blueberry extract or a control diet with no blueberry extract for a minimum of 8 weeks. After this period the rats were then randomly chosen to undergo chemical treatments to create oxidative stress that would mimic the nerve loss and damage experienced by those suffering a neurodegenerative disease. Behavioural and brain functioning studies were then carried out to determine if there were any differences in neuronal loss between the rats on the two types of diet.
The researchers found that the rats that were fed the blueberry diet had better behavioural performances and not only experienced significantly less brain cell loss but also had more viable brain cells following the chemical oxidative stress.
This study would appear to show that blueberry extract not only prevents but improves the functioning of brain cells that have been damaged by inflammation, nerve toxins and oxidative stress.
The polyphenols from blueberries are believed to offer protection against this oxidative stress (for more foods and supplements that provide this function make sure you check out the Alzheimer’s Alternative for more details) but blueberry extract also goes much further…
Dr. Duffy one of the research paper’s authors believes that blueberry supplementation may enhance neuronal signalling in the brain allowing more effective nerve communication to take place both into and out of the damaged area of the brain and “ultimately facilitate both cognitive and motor function”.
While further research is required these results suggest that the wonder fruits rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, could play a role in the prevention and possible treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The even better news is that they taste good too!
For those who really want to make dramatic strides in safeguarding their mental faculties watch out for my future articles where I will go into greater depth on the above whilst also giving you new ideas to think about. You can also learn much more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in my new book, The Alzheimer’s Alternative available from www.alzheimersalternative.com.
“A blueberry-enriched diet provides cellular protection against oxidative stress and reduces a kainate-induced learning impairment in rats” Duffy, K.B. et al. Neurobiology of Aging. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.04.002
Dr. Steffan H. Abel D.C. has been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years. He has run his own successful practice in the north of England for the last 19 years. During which time he has treated over 10,000 patients and given over 100,000 treatments. He has lectured and taught extensively in both Europe and America to students, chiropractors and medical doctors.
He has studied Hypnotherapy, N.L.P. and qualified as a Life Coach. He has also studied various Chiropractic-based treatments (gaining a M.Sc. in post graduate Clinical Chiropractic in 2003) as well as energy therapies such as Seichem and Reiki. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the College of Chiropractors and a Fellow of the Association of Osteomyology and in 2007 became a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.
In his spare time he spends between 15 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of “alternative” and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to his patients through his practice and writing. When not working he is to be found enjoying life with Sue, his partner, – whom he loves tremendously!
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