Blue Berries and the Brain.

No cite for this one. And that is rather the point of this thread. I want you to fill in my ignorance:).

I have heard from several sources that blue berries are good for the brain. I’ve heard it numerous times on TV. And FWIW I once saw a brain supplement in the drug store for children. Blue berry extract was the first ingredient.

Also I saw my doctor recently. And I asked him if blue berries are good for the brain. He said yes, and not much more. (And FWIW he was declared doctor of the year in a local magazine. So I assume he knows what he is talking about.)

But how are blue berries good for the brain? What is the active ingredient? How does it work?

I might as well tell you all. Now that I am getting older, my mental faculties are slowing down. So I have been taking blue berries in various forms for this very reason.

Am I doing this in vain?


Blueberries are high in the antioxidant flavonoid compounds called anthocyanidins. So whatever benefits you get from antioxidants. Although kidney beans have even more of it.

Research is mixed or inconclusive, but if you have truly stupid amounts of blueberry concentrate, it could have a positive effect. One study showed, at any rate.

There’ve been some studies that indicated that blueberries may help prevent cognitive decline and/or Alzheimers.

I like to tell people I have so many anti-oxidants in me that all the tarnish has disappeared from my house keys and belt buckles. Alas, it’s not true. It’s only a joke.

Practicing good nutrition is never a vain endeavor. On top of that, however, keep in mind that using your brain helps retard cognitive degradation. Reading, playing chess, doing crosswords, etc, has your brain making a lot of synaptic connections.

Note that that article presumes that it has to do with anti-oxidants. The whole anti-oxidant thing is iffy: Free radicals are bad. Anti-oxidants reduces free radicals. Therefore ingest more anti-oxidants!

But the last two steps haven’t been proven in human beings! Some people have serious doubts about all this and actual think that less anti-oxidants are better for you. We do know that too much anti-oxidants are definitely bad for you.

If blueberries are good for you, it might be for an entirely different reason.

Eating well is a good idea. But food is not a magical drug. There is no berry, plant, tea, herb, weed, that will cure you of anything or make you feel any better except through the placebo effect. More fresh food means less processing and the additives that are needed to stabilize that processed food. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always a good idea. A varied diet is also good, eat some different things once in a while. Exercise is also good for you but it takes more work and doesn’t taste that good.

I have 6 huge old growth blueberry plants of 3 varieties, about 25 years old. I think we gave away about 23 gallons on blueberries this year. In the past I have made blueberry jam, syrup, frozen berries, pies, blueberry cordial liqueur, and eat a great deal each year until late Summer when we just let them fall on the ground for the birds and critters.

I have experienced no improvement in cognitive function, as a quick review of my posting history will show. :smiley:

Not true. There are drugs found in plants. Example: metformin, a diabetes drug, is found in goat’s rue. Another example from food: lutein, a chemical found in leafy plant foods, is thought to help prevent macular degeneration.

I agree with the statement “Food is not a magical drug” as it applies to so-called superfoods which are supposed to be terrific for improving brain power, eliminating fat etc.

It’s possible that phytochemicals or other constituents of certain foods may be of benefit in certain circumstances, whether as part of normal diet or if purified and administered in quantity. But we need to be careful about drawing conclusions from limited data.

For instance, that 2010 study touting blueberry juice to improve memory involved 1) a tiny study group (9 subjects with early memory decline and a 7-person placebo cohort), 2) measured effects over only a 12-week period, and 3) utilized wild blueberrry juice, to which most people don’t have ready access.
Blueberries are among foods relatively high in resveratrol, which itself has been hyped like crazy for not only improving brain function but for other purported health benefits as well (including anti-aging, staving off heart disease and so on). Unfortunately followup research on resveratrol has yielded rather meager results to this point, to the dismay of resveratrol supplement hucksters.

Eat a good diet and by all means include blueberries (which I like). Just don’t expect to markedly improve brain function by means of their consumption.

I don’t know about blue berries and the brain, but I do know that beagles love blue berries. Also, never look a beagle in the eye…