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Brain Health

Antioxidants, Alzheimer’s disease, memory, and attention

Flavonols lower chances for AD

The green, orange, red, and yellow pigments in many plants contain powerful antioxidants called flavonols, some of which appear to lower chances for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, doctors measured flavonols in the diets of 921 adults, average age 81, all of whom began the study without AD.

In each of six years, doctors asked participants to complete a food questionnaire and tested for signs of AD. During the six-year study period, those that got an average of 15.3 mg of flavonols per day were half as likely to develop AD compared to those who got the least, 5.3 mg per day. The results remained after adjusting for other health, lifestyle, income, and educational factors.

In an innovative result of the study, doctors broke down flavonols into four types: isorhamnetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and quercetin. All flavonols except quercetin had a link to reducing chances for AD.

Reference: Neurology; 2020, WNL8981, Published Online

Polyphenols improve student performance

Fruits are rich in antioxidant polyphenols. In this study, 30 healthy students took a placebo or an extract containing 600 mg of grape and blueberry polyphenols, then later, repeated by switching treatment and placebo. Ninety minutes after each dose, students took an hour-long battery of cognitively demanding tests, including multiple subtraction tasks, rapid visual image processing, and responding with degrees of agreement or disagreement to a series of questions.

Overall, compared to placebo, during the grape-blueberry extract phases, students increased the total number of answers they achieved, increased the number of correct answers, and in the subtraction tasks, increased correct answers by 2.5 times as a percentage of the total.

Discussing the findings, doctors said, under cognitively demanding conditions, the students felt an alteration in mental fatigue, alertness, anxiety, and cognitive performance.

Reference: Antioxidants; 2019, Vol. 8, No. 12, 650

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