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Fruits rich in Polyphenols protect against Alzheimer’s

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A new study in the Journal of Food Science suggests that a diet rich in fruits containing high amounts of polyphenols (e.g. apples, bananas, oranges) may protect against oxidative stress linked to loss of cognitive function and Alzheimer’s.

The Korean researchers tested extracts from the fruit in an in vitro laboratory study which showed a reduction in oxidative stress-induced cell membrane damage.

Alzheimer’s is still a relatively new frontier for scientists and researchers alike, though more evidence and support is suggesting that the build-up of plaque from amyloid deposits increases brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress.

The researchers initially exposed cells to fruit extracts at different concentrations (100, 300, 600, 2,000 micrograms per millilitre) prior to treating them with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to induce oxidative stress.

Significantly less cells were damaged after being incubated with the fruit extracts, with apple providing the most protection. Banana and orange phenolics also protected a large amount of cells, 118 and 103 per cent more cells respectively (at the highest concentration used).

The scientists stated that “…apple juice with antioxidative phytochemicals protected brain tissue against oxidative damage, and improved cognitive performance in genetically induced AD (Alzheimer’s Disease) mice…”.

“Therefore, additional consumption of fresh fruits such as apple, banana, and orange may be beneficial to ameliorate chemopreventive effects in neurodegenerative disease such as AD,” concluded the authors.

Source: Heo, H.J., Choi, S.J., Choi, S.-G., Shin, D.-H., Lee, J.M., Lee, C.Y. (2008) Effects of Banana, Orange and Apple on Oxidative Stress – Induced Neurotoxicity in PC12 Cells, Journal of Food Science – Published online ahead of print.

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