Submitted to: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Production, Business and Applications
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2004
Publication Date: 11/9/2004
Citation: Joseph, J.A., Shukitt Hale, B., Casadesus, G. 2004. The beneficial properties of fruit polyphenols on neuronal communication and behavior in aging. In: Stagg, J.J., Foster, J.G. editors. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Production, Business and Applications. West Virginia: Mountain State University Press. p.18-30.
Technical Abstract: Research involving the molecular biology and the determination of the genetic mechanisms of aging provides cutting edge information on how to forestall or reverse the deleterious effects of aging. However, practical information that may be derived from this research is probably years away. Given that the population of the US and other countries continues to age and the numerous motor and cognitive deficits seen in aging will increase. This has already begun to seriously tax the health care system in the US. If this is the case, then it becomes prudent to try to establish other methods that may be utilized today to alter the course of aging. Numerous epidemiological studies have indicated that individuals who consume a diet containing high amounts of fruits and vegetables lower their risk of developing age-related diseases such as Alzheimer Disease. Research from our laboratory has suggested that dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (e.g., blueberry, spinach) can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress (OS) that occurs in aging and that these reductions are expressed as improvements in behavior. Additional research has suggested that these beneficial effects may involve much more than the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory effects. It appears that the very powerful actions of the polyphenolic compounds found in fruits such as blueberries may also involve affecting MAP kinase signaling and neuronal communication.