Stem Cell research shows that natural compounds found in apples and other fruits may help produce new brain cells. This study, done in mice, may also have implications for learning and memory.
Phytonutrients (chemical substances found in plants) can positively affect different body parts, including the brain. Some examples of these nutrients are resveratrol in red grapes and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in green tea.
Tara Louise Walker, Gerd Kempermann, and their team found that high concentrations of phytonutrients from apples stimulate neurogenesis (the generation of new neurons).
‘Study shows that compounds from apples may boost brain functions including learning and memory.’
Findings also showed that laboratory-grown stem cells from adult mouse brains generated more neurons and were protected from cell death when phytonutrients of apples (quercetin or dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA)) were added to the cultures.
Additional tests in mice showed that stem cells multiplied and generated more neurons in adult brain structures associated with learning and memory when the mice were given high doses of quercetin or DHBA. Physical exercise is a known stimulus for neurogenesis, and the effects of quercetin or DHBA were comparable to the effects of PE.
To determine if phytonutrients can enhance cognitive functions in humans, future studies are required.