Posted By: Dr. Gary Bellman on September 24, 2014
Not all foods and supplements receive the same share of the spotlight, attention, or scrutiny. In spite of the ample scientific research behind it, one of the most overlooked is resveratrol
. It may surprise you to learn that resveratrol, most commonly associated with red wine, may have many benefits that could include the enhancement to age more gracefully.
Resveratrol is a substance which occurs naturally in the skin of red grapes and blueberries and may also have a beneficial effect on memory according to a recent study in older adults.
A small, double-blinded, placebo controlled preliminary trial from Berlin, Germany looked at the effects of 26 weeks of supplemental resveratrol in older, overweight adults. Overweight adults, (with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30 kilograms per meter squared), were chosen because prior research had indicated that the physiological response to resveratrol may be more pronounced in overweight persons . 23 healthy men and women, aged 50-75 years, were matched pairwise to 23 participants as a control.
The study subjects consumed two 50 milligram capsules twice a day (total 200 mg resveratrol per day), taken with or before main meals. The control group received capsules containing a total of 1015 mg sunflower oil per day.
Before and after the 26 weeks, the participants underwent memory testing and brain imaging studies, as well as measures of body weight and several blood chemistry tests. Notable among the findings was a significant improvement on a test of word retention over 30 minutes in the resveratrol subjects as compared to their controls.
Through the use of three-dimensional brain imaging, the researchers were able to associate the improved recall with increased activity in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, suggesting that the neural connections (functional connectivity) between these two brain structures were strengthened. The hippocampus of the brain is known to be a key region for memory function.
The study authors concluded that 26 weeks of resveratrol supplementation improved memory performance and glucose metabolism in healthy, overweight, older adults. They propose that their findings might “pave the way to implement larger randomized clinical trials” which could benefit the maintenance of brain health throughout the aging process.
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