Researchers at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine said that resveratrol, a potent antioxidant and effective in removing cholesterol inside the arteries, has this added ability.
Resveratrol has been linked with decrease of heart disease risk and slow aging, but decline of memory loss has been added only recently added.
The study was published in Scientific Reports.
Ashok K. Shetty, Ph.D., a professor in the department of molecular and cellular medicine and director of neurosciences at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has been studying the potential benefit of resveratrol which is found in the skin of red grapes, as well as in red wine, peanuts, and some berries.
Resveratrol has been promoted for its potential to prevent heart disease, but Dr. Shetty and a team that includes other researchers from the health science center believe it also has positive effects on the hippocampus, the area of the brain that is critical to functions such as memory, learning, and mood.
“Resveratrol-treated animals also displayed increased net neurogenesis and microvasculature, and diminished astrocyte hypertrophy and microglial activation in the hippocampus,” wrote the investigators.
Because both humans and animals show a decline in cognitive capacity after middle age, the findings may have implications for treating memory loss in the elderly. Resveratrol may even be able to help people afflicted with severe neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The study shows that elderly rats treated with resveratrol enjoyed far better blood flow, memory and other brain growth than those not given the antioxidant.
The rats given resveratrol experienced double the neurogenesis (the growth and development of neurons) of the control rats, much better microvasculature, and decreased inflammation of the hippocampus.
Shetty said: “The study provides novel evidence that resveratrol treatment in late middle age can help improve memory and mood function in old age.”