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The impact of fruit flavonoids on memory and cognition

Spencer, J. P. (2010) The impact of fruit flavonoids on memory and cognition. British Journal of Nutrition, 104 (Supple). S40-S47. ISSN 0007-1145

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0007114510003934


There is intense interest in the studies related to the potential of phytochemical-rich foods to prevent age-related neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. Recent evidence has indicated that a group of plant-derived compounds known as flavonoids may exert particularly powerful actions on mammalian cognition and may reverse age-related declines in memory and learning. In particular, evidence suggests that foods rich in three specific flavonoid sub-groups, the flavanols, anthocyanins and/or flavanones, possess the greatest potential to act on the cognitive processes. This review will highlight the evidence for the actions of such flavonoids, found most commonly in fruits, such as apples, berries and citrus, on cognitive behaviour and the underlying cellular architecture. Although the precise mechanisms by which these flavonoids act within the brain remain unresolved, the present review focuses on their ability to protect vulnerable neurons and enhance the function of existing neuronal structures, two processes known to be influenced by flavonoids and also known to underpin neuro-cognitive function. Most notably, we discuss their selective interactions with protein kinase and lipid kinase signalling cascades (i.e. phosphoinositide-3 kinase/Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways), which regulate transcription factors and gene expression involved in both synaptic plasticity and cerebrovascular blood flow. Overall, the review attempts to provide an initial insight into the potential impact of regular flavonoid-rich fruit consumption on normal or abnormal deteriorations in cognitive performance.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
ID Code:18551
Uncontrolled Keywords:Brain/*drug effects Cognition/*drug effects Cognition Disorders/prevention & control Diet Flavonoids/*pharmacology/therapeutic use Fruit/*chemistry Humans Memory/*drug effects Neurons/drug effects Neuroprotective Agents/*pharmacology/therapeutic use Phytotherapy Plant Extracts/*pharmacology/therapeutic use Signal Transduction/drug effects
Additional Information:BB/E023185/1/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council/United Kingdom BB/F008953/1/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council/United Kingdom BB/G005702/1/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council/United Kingdom Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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