Study Finds Green Algae Species Extract Could Improve Memory

A recently published study in the special edition of the journal Antioxidants, called Antioxidants of Natural Product found that one species of green algae has the potential to improve memory.

Green algae are known to be superfoods. They’re rich in antioxidants and essential minerals, which makes them a great addition to any diet.

This study examines the neuroprotective effects of Enteromorpha prolifera, a green alga long used in East Asian diets and traditional medicine.

This assessment is especially important because neurodegenerative disorders are one of the most common debilitating diseases today.

Increased oxidative stress propels many reactions that lead to progressive cognitive decline and degeneration.

Therefore, any new-found way that this could be prevented is more than welcome.

What’s Important

Eastern countries have incorporated algae into their dishes for centuries, and lately, this trend can be noticed in Europe and America as well.

In relation to this, research has shown that the numbers of people with neurodegenerative diseases are lower in East Asia, where high amounts of algae and seafood are consumed. [1]

Algae are abundant in nutrients and the compounds derived from them often exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-allergic properties.

Enteromorpha prolifera, in particular, is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

In addition, it’s rich in phytochemicals which give it its antioxidant status.

This study was animal-based and it examined the effects of Enteromorpha prolifera extract on protecting the brain from the neurological damage caused by oxidative stress.

What Do the Results Say?

To the knowledge of the researchers, this is the only study so far that has examined the neuroprotective effects of this particular species of green algae.

But, that’s not to say it wasn’t successful, quite on the contrary - it improved memory impairments in the animals.

  • Spatial learning ability was significantly improved following the administration of Enteromorpha prolifera extract. According to the researchers, this result suggests that the extract improved induced dementia.
  • Memory encoding, storage, and retrieval were also tested. Most notably, memory retention was noticeably better.
  • Enteromorpha prolifera extract also significantly boosted the antioxidant defense system by increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes against oxidative stress.
  • The expression of beta-amyloid and tau proteins, which are indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, was greatly reduced. This means that the neurons are protected from the deposits of these proteins that lead to degeneration.
  • And lastly, Enteromorpha prolifera extract appeared to regulate the BDNF signaling pathway. BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a protein important for neuroplasticity, memory formation, and memory storage.
  • In Conclusion

    According to this study, Enteromorpha prolifera extract could be very beneficial for preventing neurodegenerative diseases. However, more studies are necessary in order to confirm this study’s finds.

    We’ll leave you with the researchers’ own words, which are that Enteromorpha prolifera extract “can be a potential source of abundant phytochemicals, improving memory impairment, and it may be a candidate for functional health food and pharmaceuticals for neuroprotection.”



    Resource: Baek, S.Y.; Li, F.Y.; Kim, D.H.; Kim, S.J.; Kim, M.R. Enteromorpha prolifera Extract Improves Memory in Scopolamine-Treated Mice via Downregulating Amyloid-β Expression and Upregulating BDNF/TrkB Pathway. Antioxidants 2020, 9, 620. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9070620 


    References:

    1.https://n.neurology.org/content/51/3/728

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