You know that researchers are constantly investigating ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease. They often doing so using mice because they're able to obtain results quickly — the lifespan of a mouse is much shorter than that of humans! While we can't just assume that what works for mice will work for us, the findings are often a good starting point. That's been the case for a particular antioxidant researchers have been investigating.
Previous research found that an antioxidant called fisetin helped treat memory loss in mice genetically modified to develop Alzheimer's. While this was good news, this type of Alzheimer's, which has a genetic basis, represents only 1 to 3% of Alzheimer's cases in humans. Far more people develop what's called sporadic Alzheimer's disease as they age. So researchers at the Cellular Neurobiology Lab of the Salk Institute wanted to see if fisetin would help aging mice as well.
Using a group of mice bred to age prematurely, the researchers began giving some of the mice a daily dose of fisetin when they were three months old. Another group did not receive the fisetin. These mice typically begin showing physical and cognitive decline by the time they are 10 months old. In this study, that was definitely true for the mice who didn't receive the fisetin. They were struggling with cognitive tests and had high levels of stress and inflammation. In contrast, the mice that had received the fisetin did not seem much different than untreated three-month-old mice. Their aging processes hadn't kicked in.
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Again, these results might not be the same in humans. But they're definitely exciting and worth investigating! The researchers think fisetin might help humans not just with Alzheimer's disease but with other forms of cognitive decline that occur with aging as well.
So where do you find fisetin? You may never have heard of it, but that doesn't mean you've never consumed it! Fisetin is a natural compound that can be found in strawberries. I always encourage my patients to eat berries because they have very high levels of protective phytochemicals that are hard to get in other foods. Not only that, unlike other fruits, they are low on the glycemic (sugar) scale. So, feel free to include some organic strawberries in your diet whenever they're in season. They're delicious, and they'll likely help protect your cognitive function.
When strawberries aren't in season, you can still benefit from fisetin by adding a scoop of Advanced Greens Formula to your smoothie instead. I know, I know — strawberries aren't green. But they're still included in this formula, along with their green friends such as kale, broccoli, and chlorella. You'll get all kinds of antioxidants and other nutrients that will help you age gracefully — which I'm not sure mice can do regardless of what antioxidants you feed them.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD