Fisetin is a unique polyphenol flavonoid that has demonstrated a high level of neuro-protection along with improvement of memory. A standardized extract of fisetin is now undergoing extensive scientific studies by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies to prove its value for general brain health. A patent has already been issued, entitled “Methods of Using Flavonoids to Enhance Memory.” It appears that fisetin is another useful nutrient tool in the preservation of cognitive well being.

Fisetin is found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables including mangoes and strawberries, although the standardized extract comes from the Japanese Wax Shrub/Tree (Rhus succedanea – L). There are thousands of polyphenols in nature with some having structures that are highly bioactive. Examples include the anthocyanins of blueberries, quercetin, grape seed extract, resveratrol, green tea catechins, etc. In general such nutrients have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and gene-regulating attributes – in other words they are vital to human health.

Researchers came upon fisetin during a screening process of many natural substances, looking for nutrients that could prevent oxidative stress from causing nerve cell death. Oxidative stress to nerve cells is a common problem in today’s society and always occurs in situations of cognitive impairment and decline. Protection of nerves is a top priority for health, as nerves regulate everything else and once they start to have trouble health declines.

We now know that the unique structure of each polyphenol flavonoid means that it may influence different gene pathways relating to nerve function and protection. This is why it is good to have a mix of these types of nutrients in your supplements. For example, the core cellular antioxidant, glutathione, is influenced by many flavonoids and nutrients like grape seed extract, R alpha lipoic acid, tocotrienol E, and NAC. Fisetin operates in a very specific pathway to boost nerve cell glutathione levels and to reduce one of the most damaging free radicals, peroxynitrite.

Researchers have now documented a number of additional ways in which fisetin protects nerve cells during the aging process. They have shown that it can protect nerve cells from damage during toxin-induced stroke – while at the same time maintaining the vital production of energy in the brain (ATP synthesis was preserved). Excessive activation of the glial cells in the brain is associated with inflammatory nerve damage, excitotoxicity, and declining neurological health. Fisetin has been shown to reduce excess glial cell activation upon exposure of nerve cells to a known neurotoxin. Fisetin has also been shown to reduce excessive formation of amyloid beta protein – a process that otherwise induces brain plaque associated with cognitive decline.

In addition to nerve protection, fisetin has been shown to boost the activity of gene pathways involved in the improvement of memory. In fact, data shows that fisetin stimulates the growth of new nerve cells – a form of nerve rejuvenation.

Collectively these studies demonstrate that fisetin is a nutrient that influences multiple pathways in a positive way so as to protect the brain. Since the type of help fisetin offers is related to factors that worsen with age, the preliminary body of science suggests that fisetin is a novel brain anti-aging nutrient.

Author's Bio: 

Byron J. Richards, Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, Inc., is a Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a world renowned natural health expert. Richards is the first to explain the relevance of leptin and its link to solving obesity.