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A nutritional supplement with blueberry extract may help older minds.

A nutritional supplement with blueberry extract may help older minds.

Alzheimer's disease is one of the greatest threats facing Americans today, largely because the population is aging at an exponential rate as Baby Boomers grow older. This has spurred increased investigation into the nature of age-related cognitive decline in general, and researchers are discovering more and more about the benefits of natural compounds for brain health. Curcumin, the bioactive ingredient in turmeric, has been tapped as a brain support supplement in various studies, and now scientists are investigating other ways to tap into the brain-boosting abilities of the natural world.

According to a press release published by ScienceDaily, scientists from the University of South Florida have devised a nutritional supplement that taps into antioxidant-rich polyphenols found in blueberries and green tea. The key benefit of antioxidants lies in the fact that they protect cells from the damage inflicted by free radicals, also known as oxidative stress. It is this damage that leaves our cells susceptible to grave illnesses including cancer.

"The basis for the use of polyphenol-rich nutritional supplements as a moderator of age-related cognitive decline is the age-related increase in oxidative stress and inflammation," explained neurosurgery and brain repair professor Paula Bickford, Ph.D., in the release.

The researchers observed that consuming a nutritional supplement combining these extracts with amino acids and vitamin D was linked to improved memory support and brain function among older adults. Further investigation is required to confirm this correlation, but it does once again establish the potential for natural compounds to amp up brain activity as we age.

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