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 decline.
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.