In the mammalian brain, in particular in the hippocampus, are produced throughout life new neurons. This process, called neurogenesis - according to a note - it is essential for the formation of episodic memory, as demonstrated in recent research: new hippocampal neurons are generated from stem cells and during aging with a progressive decrease of both, which is at the origin of a drastic reduction of episodic memory. Hydroxytyrosol, present in olive oil, has strong antioxidant capacity and protective on the cells and it is known that several factors, such as diet, are capable of stimulating adult neurogenesis.
"The oral intake of hydroxytyrosol for a month, keeps alive the new neurons produced during this period, both in adults and even more in the elderly, in which it also stimulates the proliferation of stem cells, from which neurons are generated," says Tirone. "In addition, hydroxytyrosol due to its antioxidant activity, is able to 'clean up' the nerve cells, because it also leads to a reduction in some markers of aging such as lipofuscins, which are accumulations of debris in neuronal cells".
"We then verified thanks to a marker of neuronal activity (c-fos) - continuous Micheli - that new neurons produced in excess in the elderly are actually included in neuronal circuits, thus indicating that the effect of hydroxytyrosol results in an increase of the functionality of the hippocampus. The dose taken on a daily basis during the testing is equivalent to the doses that a man could take with a enriched diet and/or supplements (about 500 mg/day per person). However, the intake of hydroxytyrosol would have an efficiency even higher, if occur, by means of consumption of a functional food what is the olive oil".
These results confirm the beneficial effects of the mediterranean diet, particularly for the elderly, and open to a potential flap eco-friendly. "The residues of the processing of the olives, very polluting, and contain a large amount of hydroxytyrosol: improving the procedures for the separation of the components, good workmanship, would allow to obtain hydroxytyrosol and reduce the harmful impact," concluded Tirone.
took part in The study, researchers at the University of Tuscia: Carla Caruso of the Department of science, ecological and biological, and a team of the Department of agricultural and forest sciences composed by Roberta Bernini, Luca Santi, and Mariangela Clement, who synthesized hydroxytyrosol with a new procedure patented.
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