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Eat your way to good health: Blueberry vinegar may help fight dementia, say experts

Natural extracts could be a safer treatment option compared to chemical compounds, and some animal studies suggest that these extracts can improve cognition.

fitness Updated: Dec 23, 2017 11:02 IST
Press Trust of India, Seoul
Blueberry,Blueberry vinegar,Alzheimer’s disease
Vinegar made from blueberries is packed with a wide range of active compounds, which might help prevent cognitive decline.(Shutterstock)

Blueberry vinegar may help fight dementia, according to a study that shows fermented product restores cognitive function. Recent studies have shown that the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, have lower levels of the signalling compound acetylcholine and its receptors.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, has also demonstrated that blocking acetylcholine receptors disrupts learning and memory. Drugs to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine have been developed to fight dementia, but they often do not last long in the body and can be toxic to the liver. Natural extracts could be a safer treatment option, and some animal studies suggest that these extracts can improve cognition. Additionally, fermentation can boost the bioactivity of some natural products.

So the researchers from the Konkuk University in South Korea wanted to test whether vinegar made from blueberries, which are packed with a wide range of active compounds, might help prevent cognitive decline. To carry out their experiment, the researchers administered blueberry vinegar to mice with induced amnesia. Measurements of molecules in their brains showed that the vinegar reduced the breakdown of acetylcholine and boosted levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with maintaining and creating healthy neurons.

To test how the treatment affected cognition, the researchers analysed the animals’ performance in mazes and an avoidance test, in which the mice would receive a low- intensity shock in one of two chambers. The treated rodents showed improved performance in both of these tests, suggesting that the fermented product improved short-term memory.

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First Published: Dec 23, 2017 11:00 IST