A team of experts has said that an apple might be able to stop the onset of dementia. An international study has shown that a chemical compound, which is found in apples, fuels neurons and improves learning and memory. The study has been done on mice. Experts have noted that grey matter has increased as they have injected the animals with phytonutrients such as flavonoids. Fruits and vegetables are rich in flavonoids. This effect has been similar to those, which occur after exercise. Flavonoids can help boost brain function as well. The co-author of the study, Gerd Kempermann from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases has said that these dietary compounds are vital for boosting cognitive function. They can be very beneficial for various parts of the body including the brain. He has said that antioxidants, which are found in apples help reduce inflammation and support the immune system as well. Experts have taken stem cells from the brains of the rodents in the lab and cultured them in Petri dishes. They have seen that after using apple extracts such as quercetin or DHBA (dihydroxybezoic acid), the numbers of neurons have increased, and the death of neurons has slowed down. Kempermann has said that high concentrations of phytonutrients, which are found in apples, activate the generation of new neurons. The process of generation of new neurons is known as neurogenesis. The findings of the study have been released in a journal called Stem Cell Reports.
After experimenting with lab rodents, experts have done the same experiment with living mice. Experts have said that after adding high doses of DHBA, stem cells in the mice have shot up and have generated an increased number of neurons. Experts have said that this is applied to distinct structures in the adult brain such as the hippocampus, vital for memory, navigation, and learning. The study has shown that apples contain pro-neurogenic compounds in the peel and flesh. The peel of the apples contains quercetin. The pigment, which brings bright color to the fruit, belongs to the flavonoids family. DHBA is a natural preservative, which is not linked to flavonoids. DHBA is crucial for giving a distinct aroma to the fruit. Experts have said that both chemicals work in tandem to protect stem cells and eliminate harmful free radicals. They have claimed that apples are not just a great source of energy but it affects people’s overall fitness as well. Many past studies have claimed that phytochemicals, which are found in plants, provide a wide range of health benefits. These substances are resveratrol in red apples and EGCG (epigallo-catechin-3-gallate) which is found in green tea. Some experts have said that these substances help reduce the risk of fatal diseases such as cancer, heart conditions, and dementia. Experts, who have been involved in the new study have said that DHBA and quercetin work together to increase neurogenesis and brain function when given in high amounts.
Experts have said that when apple juice has been given to mice; they have not seen any benefit to brain health as it has smaller amounts of beneficial ingredients. The findings of the study might have implications for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Experts have said that currently there is no sure shot treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, in such a case, focusing on certain lifestyle factors might help reduce or delay the onset of such diseases. The authors of the study have said that as mammals have evolved with exposure to specific diets, naturally abundant compounds might have become an integral part of the set of environmental co-determinants, which have shaped the structure of the brain and its function. The co-author of the study has said that there is a need for more studies to validate that the phytonutrients can improve learning and cognitive function.