Submitted to: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/24/2009
Publication Date: 5/20/2009
Citation: Willis, L., Shukitt Hale, B., Joseph, J.A. 2009. Modulation of cognition and behavior in aged animals: role of antioxidant and essential fatty acid rich plant foods. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 89:1602S-1606S.
Technical Abstract: Aging results in the development of cognitive and motor deficits in humans and animals evident by mid-life. These deficits are thought to stem from neuronal damage and dysfunction due to a variety of stressors, including increased oxidative stress and modifications in brain lipid composition. Recent clinical and animal studies have identified nutritional intervention as a viable method to curtail the cognitive aging process. Consequently, basic science studies investigating nutritional modulation of age-related cognitive decline have focused on foods rich in antioxidants or essential fatty acids. Dietary antioxidants are found in a majority of fruits and vegetables, particularly bright colored foods rich in polyphenolic flavonoids. Flavonoid-rich foods include berries, red wine, tea, and some nuts. In addition, nuts also contain significant levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The purpose of this review is to discuss recent advancements in ameliorating cognitive and behavioral decline during aging via nutritional supplementation with polyphenol- or polyunsaturated fatty acid- rich foods.