Blueberries help against Parkinson's

Ingredients take over protective functions for cells

Blueberries © Bruno Navez / GFDL
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Berries contain high concentrations of red and blue dyes called anthocyanins. They are attributed numerous health-promoting effects. Scientists have now been able to show that in addition to the mechanisms already known, other protective functions for cells of anthocyanins are also taken over.

As the researchers at the University of Regensburg report in the current issue of the journal "Pharmacological Research", the dyes also act as inhibitors of two enzymes that play an important role in brain metabolism.

Dyes inhibit monoamine oxidases

In experiments on a total of 25 different berry ingredients, several dyes were found which had an inhibitory effect on the monoamine oxidases (MAO) A and B unfolded. MAO inhibitors have long been among the proven drugs in the treatment of Parkinson's and depression.

Although, according to the scientists, the berry active ingredients did not reach the level of effect of commercial drugs, it is conceivable that their ingestion with food offers health benefits.

Blueberries and elderberries particularly suitable

MAO A and B act in the mitochondria, the cell's power plants. Inhibition of the enzyme leads to the slowing down of various neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin as well as some hormones such as epinephrine. Neurotransmitters are increasingly available for signal transmission in brain metabolism. display

At present it is still unclear, so the scientists, which amount of berries to eat daily to bring about a measurable inhibition of MAO A and B. Bilberries and elderberries, which contain between 600 and 1, 400 milligrams (mg) per 100 grams, are particularly rich in anthocyanins. Other sources of high anthocyanin content include grapes, cherries, red cabbage and red cabbage.

(idw - University of Regensburg, 16.04.2009 - DLO)