Coffee, fenugreek seeds and radish all contain an ingredient that appears to counteract the natural age-related decline in cognitive function. The plant active ingredient can enable a significant improvement in learning and memory performance.
In recent research, experts at the University of Tsukuba in Japan used a mouse model to investigate how a plant alkaloid called trigonelline affects memory and spatial learning. The results can be read in the English-language journal “Geroscience”.
What is trigonelline?
In recent years, natural substances with functional properties to improve cognitive functions or to prevent age-related cognitive decline have increasingly become the focus of research, reports the team. Trigonelline appears to be an extremely promising active ingredient candidate.
Trigonelline refers to a plant alkaloid that is present in coffee, fenugreek seeds and radish. It has long been believed by experts that trigonelline can influence cognition.
Therefore, the researchers examined how oral administration of trigonelline affects memory and spatial learning (acquiring, retaining, structuring and applying information related to the physical environment) in mice with accelerated aging.
Better memory performance
Compared to the control group, it was shown that animals that had consumed trigonelline for 30 days achieved significantly better results in the so-called Morris water maze test, which was due to better spatial learning and memory performance, the team reports.
After the water maze test, the researchers carried out a so-called transcriptome analysis of the entire genome of the mice’s hippocampus in order to analyze underlying molecular mechanisms.
Influence on the signaling pathways
It was found that in mice taking trigonelline, signaling pathways related to nervous system development, mitochondrial function, ATP synthesis, inflammation, autophagy and neurotransmitter release were significantly modulated, the team reports in a paper Press release.
Trigonelline suppresses neuroinflammation
In addition, trigonelline negatively regulated the activation of the transcription factor NF-κB mediated by the signaling factor Traf6, so that neuroinflammation was suppressed. And a quantitative protein analysis carried out by the researchers showed that the levels of the inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6 were significantly reduced by taking trigonelline.
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Increase in neurotransmitters
Another effect of taking trigonelline was the significant increase in the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the hippocampus, the experts add.
Prevent brain impairments
Overall, consuming foods containing trigonelline can prevent age-related impairments in memory and contribute to improving cognitive functions. Regularly consuming coffee, radish or fenugreek seems to enable healthier aging of the brain.
According to previous study results, coffee could even be helpful in different ways, as the caffeine it contains improves memory, mood, reaction times and mental function. (as)