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Magnesium, Uric acid, Green tea, and Cocoa

July 2017


Neurovascular coupling, cerebral white matter integrity, and response to cocoa in older people.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function in elderly individuals with vascular risk factors and to determine whether neurovascular coupling could be modified by cocoa consumption. METHODS: Sixty older people (aged 72.9 ± 5.4 years) were studied in a parallel-arm, double-blind clinical trial of neurovascular coupling and cognition in response to 24 hours and 30 days of cocoa consumption. Cognitive measures included Mini-Mental State Examination and Trail Making Test A and B. Neurovascular coupling was measured from the beat-to-beat blood flow velocity responses in the middle cerebral arteries to the N-Back Task. In a subset of MRI-eligible participants, cerebral white matter structural integrity was also measured. RESULTS: Neurovascular coupling was associated with Trails B scores (p = 0.002) and performance on the 2-Back Task. Higher neurovascular coupling was also associated with significantly higher fractional anisotropy in cerebral white matter hyperintensities (p = 0.02). Finally, 30 days of cocoa consumption was associated with increased neurovascular coupling (5.6% ± 7.2% vs -2.4% ± 4.8%; p = 0.001) and improved Trails B times (116 ± 78 seconds vs 167 ± 110 seconds; p = 0.007) in those with impaired neurovascular coupling at baseline. CONCLUSION: There is a strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function, and both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with baseline impairments. Better neurovascular coupling is also associated with greater white matter structural integrity.

Neurology. 2013 Sep 3;81(10):904-9

Phenolic and Volatile Composition of a Dry Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) Extract.

The present paper reports a complete mass spectrometric characterization of both the phenolic and volatile fractions of a dried spearmint extract. Phenolic compounds were analysed by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-ESI-MS(n)) and a total of 66 compounds were tentatively identified, being the widest phenolic characterisation of spearmint to date. The analysis suggests that the extract is composed of rosmarinic acid and its derivatives (230.5 ± 13.5 mg/g) with smaller amounts of salvianolic acids, caffeoylquinic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids, flavones, and flavanones. Head space solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) technique, that was applied to characterize the volatile fraction of spearmint, identified molecules belonging to different chemical classes, such as p-cymene, isopiperitone, and piperitone, dihydroedulan II, menthone, p-cymen-8-ol, and b-linalool. This comprehensive phytochemical analysis can be useful to test the authenticity of this product rich in rosmarinic acid and other phenolics, and when assessing its biological properties. It may also be applied to other plant-derived food extracts and beverages containing a broad range of phytochemical compounds.

Molecules. 2016 Aug 3;21(8). pii: E1007

Neurovascular coupling in normal aging: a combined optical, ERP and fMRI study.

Brain aging is characterized by changes in both hemodynamic and neuronal responses, which may be influenced by the cardiorespiratory fitness of the individual. To investigate the relationship between neuronal and hemodynamic changes, we studied the brain activity elicited by visual stimulation (checkerboard reversals at different frequencies) in younger adults and in older adults varying in physical fitness. Four functional brain measures were used to compare neuronal and hemodynamic responses obtained from BA17: two reflecting neuronal activity (the event-related optical signal, EROS, and the C1 response of the ERP), and two reflecting functional hemodynamic changes (functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, and near-infrared spectroscopy, NIRS). The results indicated that both younger and older adults exhibited a quadratic relationship between neuronal and hemodynamic effects, with reduced increases of the hemodynamic response at high levels of neuronal activity. Although older adults showed reduced activation, similar neurovascular coupling functions were observed in the two age groups when fMRI and deoxy-hemoglobin measures were used. However, the coupling between oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin changes decreased with age and increased with increasing fitness. These data indicate that departures from linearity in neurovascular coupling may be present when using hemodynamic measures to study neuronal function.

Neuroimage. 2014 Jan 15;85 Pt 1:592-607

Neurovascular and neurometabolic derailment in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

The functional and structural integrity of the brain requires local adjustment of blood flow and regulated delivery of metabolic substrates to meet the metabolic demands imposed by neuronal activation. This process-neurovascular coupling-and ensued alterations of glucose and oxygen metabolism-neurometabolic coupling-are accomplished by concerted communication between neural and vascular cells. Evidence suggests that neuronal-derived nitric oxide ((•)NO) is a key player in both phenomena. Alterations in the mechanisms underlying the intimate communication between neural cells and vessels ultimately lead to neuronal dysfunction. Both neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling are perturbed during brain aging and in age-related neuropathologies in close association with cognitive decline. However, despite decades of intense investigation, many aspects remain poorly understood, such as the impact of these alterations. In this review, we address neurovascular and neurometabolic derailment in aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), discussing its significance in connection with (•)NO-related pathways.

Front Aging Neurosci. 2015 May 27;7:103

Neurovascular coupling is impaired in cerebral microangiopathy—An event-related Stroop study.

Small-vessel disease or cerebral microangiopathy is a common finding in elderly people leading finally to subcortical ischemic vascular dementia. Because cerebral microangiopathy impairs vascular reactivity and affects mainly the frontal lobes, we hypothesized that brain activation decreases during an event-related color-word matching Stroop task. 12 patients suffering from cerebral microangiopathy were compared with 12 age-matched controls. As an imaging method we applied functional near-infrared spectroscopy, because it is particularly sensitive to the microvasculature. The Stroop task led to activations in the lateral prefrontal cortex. Generally, the amplitude of the hemodynamic response was reduced in patients in tight correlation with behavioral slowing during the Stroop task and with neuropsychological deficits, namely attentional and executive dysfunction. Interestingly, patients showed an early deoxygenation of blood right after stimulation onset, and a delay of the hemodynamic response. Whereas the amplitude of the hemodynamic response is reduced in the frontal lobes also with normal aging, data suggest that impairments of neurovascular coupling are specific for cerebral microangiopathy. In summary, our findings indicate frontal dysfunction and impairments of neurovascular coupling in cerebral microangiopathy.

Neuroimage. 2007 Jan 1;34(1):26-34

Neurovascular coupling in the normal brain and in hypertension, stroke, and Alzheimer disease.

The brain is critically dependent on a continuous supply of blood to function. Therefore, the cerebral vasculature is endowed with neurovascular control mechanisms that assure that the blood supply of the brain is commensurate to the energy needs of its cellular constituents. The regulation of cerebral blood flow (CBF) during brain activity involves the coordinated interaction of neurons, glia, and vascular cells. Thus, whereas neurons and glia generate the signals initiating the vasodilation, endothelial cells, pericytes, and smooth muscle cells act in concert to transduce these signals into carefully orchestrated vascular changes that lead to CBF increases focused to the activated area and temporally linked to the period of activation. Neurovascular coupling is disrupted in pathological conditions, such as hypertension, Alzheimer disease, and ischemic stroke. Consequently, CBF is no longer matched to the metabolic requirements of the tissue. This cerebrovascular dysregulation is mediated in large part by the deleterious action of reactive oxygen species on cerebral blood vessels. A major source of cerebral vascular radicals in models of hypertension and Alzheimer disease is the enzyme NADPH oxidase. These findings, collectively, highlight the importance of neurovascular coupling to the health of the normal brain and suggest a therapeutic target for improving brain function in pathologies associated with cerebrovascular dysfunction.

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 Jan;100(1):328-35

Preventive antioxidant effects of cocoa polyphenolic extract on free radical production and cognitive erformances after heat exposure in Wistar rats.

The preventive effects of ACTICOA powder (AP), a cocoa polyphenolic extract, on free radicals produced by leucocytes in rats after heat exposure (HE) and its protective effects on subsequent cognitive impairments were assessed. AP or vitamin E, the antioxidant reference, was orally administered to rats for 14 d before HE at 40 degrees C temperature during 2 h. The day after HE, free radical production by leucocytes in rats treated with AP or vitamin E was significantly reduced as compared to control. Unlike controls, AP- and vitamin E-treated rats discriminated between active lever and inactive levers in a light extinction paradigm. In the Morris water maze, escape latencies before reaching the hidden platform by AP- and vitamin E-treated rats decreased throughout testing. The daily oral administration of AP or vitamin E protected rats from cognitive impairments after HE by counteracting the overproduction of free radicals.

J Food Sci. 2007 Apr;72(3):S203-6

Effect of botanical extracts containing carnosic acid or rosmarinic acid on learning and memory in SAMP8 mice.

Oxidative damage is one of the hallmarks of the aging process. The current study evaluated effects of two proprietary antioxidant-based ingredients, rosemary extract and spearmint extract containing carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, respectively, on learning and memory in the SAMP8 mouse model of accelerated aging. The two rosemary extracts contained carnosic acid (60% or 10% carnosic acid) and one spearmint extract contained 5% rosmarinic acid. Three doses of actives in each extract were tested: 32, 16, 1.6 or 0mg/kg. After 90days of treatment mice were tested in T-maze foot shock avoidance, object recognition and lever press. Rosemary extract containing 60% carnosic acid improved acquisition and retention in T-maze foot shock, object recognition and lever press. Rosemary extract with 10% carnosic acid improved retention in T-maze foot shock avoidance and lever press. Spearmint with 5% rosmarinic acid improved acquisition and retention in T-maze foot shock avoidance and object recognition. 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) was reduced in the brain cortex after treatment with all three extracts (P<0.001) compared to the vehicle treated SAMP8. Protein carbonyls were reduced in the hippocampus after administration of rosemary with 10% carnosic acid (P<0.05) and spearmint containing 5% rosmarinic acid (P<0.001). The current results indicate that the extracts from spearmint and rosemary have beneficial effects on learning and memory and brain tissue markers of oxidation that occur with age in SAMP8 mice.

Physiol Behav. 2016 Oct 15;165:328-38