Thursday, 4 October 2018

Carrot, The Best Food to Protect Your Brain Against Cognitive Impairment, Scientists Say

Kyle J. Norton

Carrots may have a profound and positive effect in improving cognitive impairment, some scientists suggested.

Cognitive impairment is a condition characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills.

People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at greater risk in the development of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.

According to the statistic provided by the center of Diseases Control and Prevention, more than 16 million people in the United States are living with cognitive impairment and these numbers are increasing in the alarming rate.

Sadly, the CDC continued,  "An estimated 5.1 million Americans aged 65 years or older may currently have Alzheimer’s disease, the most well-known form of cognitive impairment; this number may rise to 13.2 million by 2050".

The causes of cognitive impairment are unknown. However, researchers suggested that aging, genetically mutated gene inherited from parents, such as Down's Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), autism, persistent mental health problems, together with unhealthy diet and lifestyle are associated to the onset of cognitive impairment.

Furthermore, hormonal imbalances, physical damage to the portion of the brain that is responsible for controlling cognitive function and substance abuse are also some major cause of development of the condition.

If you experience some of the symptoms such as confusion, poor motor coordination, loss of short-term or long-term memory, identity confusion,..... impaired judgment, you may have cognitive impairment. Please make sure that you check with your doctor to rule out the possibility.

Carrot, a root vegetable with an orange color is a subspicies of Daucus carota, belongings to the family Apiaceae, native to Asian and Europe.

A. Oxidative Stress
In the investigation of cognitive and memory impairment triggered by oxidative stress, researchers at the Northwest A&F University launched a study of carrot 's major bioactive compound lycopene effect in cognitive defects, using the experiment in the animal model.

The analysis of the results was measured by behavioral tests, including the Y-maze test, locomotor activity and Morris water maze test.

In d-galactose induced CD-1 male mice cognitive impairments, researchers found that chronic lycopene (LYC) supplementation (50 mg/kg body weight per day) alleviates histopathological damage and restored brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the hippocampus.

These results may be associated with the reduced oxidative stress in the brain of tested subjects through increasing the antioxidants of the supplementation and stimulated production of antioxidants from the body of host tissue as well as decreasing levels of proinfammatory cytokines via activated the mRNA expressions of antioxidant enzymes HO-1 and NQO-1, and inhibited inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α in mice hippocampus.

Observation of the oxidative status, indicated that application of LYC also significantly elevates antioxidant enzymes activities and reduces levels of inflammatory cytokines in the d-galactose-treated mice serum.

Further differentiation also suggested that the anti inflammatory effect is expressed by restoring the
glial cells inflammatory makers which have a strong implication in regulating neurotransmission, inflammatory and neuroprotective pathways, and blood-brain barrier functions.

Additionally, application LYC also attenuated neuronal oxidative damage through activation of Nrf2 signaling incontribution to the anti-inflammatory process and inactivation of NF-κB translocation in hydrogen peroxide H2O2(free radicals) in stimulated inflammatory process.

Of the results, Dr.  Zhao B, the lead author after taking into account of other co and confounders concluded, " LYC could ameliorate oxidative stress induced neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment possibly via mediating Nrf2/NF-κB transcriptional pathway".

B. Diet

In the evaluation of the effects of A Western diet, high in saturated fats in the contribution of the development of cognitive impairment, researchers at the The Third Military Medical University, Chongqing conducted a study with several models to test the effect of lycopene neuroprotective properties.

The results of differentiation were measured through behavior testing including the Morris water maze (MWM), object recognition task (ORT), and anxiety-like behavior in an open field (OF) at the end of the experiment period.

Behavioural testing is a testing of the external behavior of the tested subjects.

On One-month-old male rats fed different diets for 16 weeks (n=12 per group), including a standard chow diet (CD), an HFD, or an HFD plus lycopene (4mg/kg, oral gavage in the last three weeks), researchers found that
* Mice fed with HFD consumption for 16 weeks demonstrated a significantly impaired central nervous system including spatial memory, working memory, and object recognition memory, decreased the dendritic spine density, damaged pyramidal neurons in the CA1 subfield (P<0.001),  compared with the chow diet group.

The authors did not mention the cause of high fat diet in the induction of neuron dysfunction, but based on the analysis of  oxidative stress, one can suspect that these results may be associated to the overexpression of lipid peroxidation in reduced levels of antioxidant and precipitated production of proinflmmatory cytokines in the host.

* Application of lycopene in HFD group or HFD plus lycopene group displayed significantly attenuated learning and memory impairments and prevented the reduction in dendritic spine density.

Injection of lycopene only can delay the progression of the learning and memory impairments but cannot restore the function of the neurons already damage due to HFD.

Dr. Wang Z, the lead scientist of the study at the end of the experiment said, " lycopene helps to protect HFD induced cognitive dysfunction".

Taken together, Carrot and its bioactive lycopene may be considered as functional food in the protection of the central nervous system against cognitive impairment, an early sign of the development of dementia.

However, intake of supplementation should be taken with care to prevent the onset of acute liver toxicity.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blog, self-growth, best before it's news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada - Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Supplementation of lycopene attenuates oxidative stress induced neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment via Nrf2/NF-κB transcriptional pathway by Zhao B1, Ren B1, Guo R1, Zhang W1, Ma S1, Yao Y1, Yuan T1, Liu Z1, Liu X(PubMed)
(2) Protective effect of lycopene on high-fat diet-induced cognitive impairment in rats by Wang Z1, Fan J2, Wang J2, Li Y2, Xiao L2, Duan D2, Wang (PubMed)

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