Drinking blueberry vinegar – or using it in salad dressings – could stave off dementia, new research suggests.
The condiment, which is produced by allowing the fruit to sour, is rich in a brain boosting chemical, according to scientists.
Experiments found the memory of mice with amnesia returned after they were fed the fermented product.
After consuming it, they had more of a protein that fuels nerve cells, as well as increased levels of a compound that is destroyed in dementia patients.
Scientists from Konkuk University, Chungju, in South Korea, are hopeful the same will apply to humans.
Drinking blueberry vinegar could stave off dementia, say scientists who discovered it the memory of mice with amnesia returned after they were fed it (stock image)
There were an estimated 50 million people living with dementia and this number is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 75 million in 2030.
Currently there is no cure for the disease but drugs can somewhat slow down its progression.
Key findings of the research
In the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, tests on the mice given the vinegar showed it reduced the breakdown of a the chemical acetylcholine.
It also increased amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with maintaining and creating healthy neurons.
It has recently been established the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, have lower levels of this signaling compound.
DEMENTIA: THE STATISTICS
There are over 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide.
That means someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.
There were an estimated 50 million people living with dementia and this number is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 75 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050.
Much of the increase will be in developing countries.
Many people are now living longer and healthier lives and so the world population has a greater proportion of older people.
The escalating dementia crisis will place huge pressures on health and social care services.