Polyphenols and brain health

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Accumulating evidence suggests that diet and lifestyle can play an important role in delaying the onset or halting the progression of age-related health disorders and to improve cognitive function. A growing number of dietary intervention studies in humans and animals and in particular those using
polyphenol-rich diets have been proposed to exert a multiplicity of neuroprotective actions within the brain, including a potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins, an ability to suppress neuroinflammation and a potential to promote memory, learning, and cognitive functions. These effects appear to be underpinned by two common processes. First, they are capable of interactions with critical protein and lipid kinase signalling cascades in the brain, leading to an inhibition of apoptosis triggered by neurotoxic species and to a promotion of neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity. Second, they inducebeneficial effects on the vascular system, leading to changes in cerebrovascular blood flow capable of causing enhance vascularisation and neurogenesis, two events important in the maintenance of cognitive
performances. Together, these processes act to maintain brain homeostasis and play important roles in neuronal stress adaptation and thus polyphenols might have the potential to prevent the progression of neurodegenerative pathologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA202
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Flavonoids
  • Ageing
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Cognition
  • Signalling pathways

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