[Japan] A research group in Japan has shown the beneficial effects of naturally-derived pigment astaxanthin (ASX) on the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain, in mouse models. Their findings were published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
With the recent rise in popularity of naturally-derived supplements to maintain personal health, there has been a great deal of attention toward development of so-called “brain foods,” which can enhance brain function.
ASX is a natural red pigment that is abundant in salmon and in crustaceans such as shrimp and crab. ASX has a powerful antioxidant effect, and it holds promise as a next-generation natural supplement.
ASX is capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain, where it acts directly on nerve cells. ASX is also known to have a neuroprotective effect in neurological animal disease models. However, there are many unanswered questions as to the effects of ASX on hippocampal function.
Led by University of Tsukuba Professor Hideaki Soya and Professor Randeep Rakwal, the study showed for the first time that giving ASX to mice for four weeks promoted nervous tissue growth and elevated the learning and memory capacity of the hippocampus.
Furthermore, when the team investigated the molecular mechanism of the ASX activity on the hippocampus, it brought to the fore specific molecular pathways that could contribute to improved memory capacity.
By conducting future targeting experiments on the molecular mechanism behind ASX action, researchers may be able to clarify the mechanism in greater detail, which could contribute to the development of medical foods and new drugs.
The article can be found at: Jang et al. (2016) Astaxanthin Supplementation Enhances Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Spatial Memory in Mice.
View original article at: Astaxanthin, the all-new memory booster derived from salmon