Jan. 21, 2010 -- Swapping out the usual OJ for blueberry juice in the
morning may give your brain a memory boost.
A new study shows that drinking a daily dose of wild blueberry juice
improved the memory of older adults with age-related memory problems.
It's the first study to show a potential benefit of blueberries in improving
memory in older adults at risk for dementia.
"The findings of this preliminary study suggest that moderate-term blueberry
supplementation can confer neurocognitive benefit," write researcher Robert
Krikorian, of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, and
colleagues in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Researchers say blueberries contain a wealth of phytochemicals that have
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, animal studies have
shown that the polyphenols found in blueberries, anthocyanins, have been shown
to increase signaling in brain centers associated with memory as well as
improve how the brain gets rid of glucose, all of which may help slow memory
In the study, researchers looked at the effects of drinking wild blueberry
juice on memory decline in nine adults in their 70s who were experiencing
age-related memory decline problems, such as memory lapses.
The participants drank about two and a half cups each day of blueberry juice
made from commercially available frozen wild blueberries for 12 weeks. A
comparison group of seven older adults drank a similar amount of placebo
non-juice beverage for the same time period.
Researchers conducted memory tests, such as word association and list
learning and recall tasks, at the beginning and end of the study.
The results showed that those who drank blueberry juice showed significant
improvement on learning and memory tests compared to the placebo group.
Researchers say there were also trends suggesting reduced symptoms of
depression and lower glucose levels among the wild blueberry juice drinkers,
but further research will be needed to confirm these results.