‘Memory Pill’ On Horizon? Scientists Concoct Antioxidant Cocktail That Improves Brainpower In Aging Mice

Getting older often comes with a frustrating side effect — your memory just isn’t what it used to be. You might find yourself forgetting names more often or needing help to keep track of details. But what if a simple dietary supplement could help preserve your brainpower as the years tick by? A new study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences offers a tantalizing hint that it might be possible.

Researchers from Shibaura Institute of Technology in Japan have found that giving aged mice a blend of vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients for a month improved their performance on learning, memory, and problem-solving tests. The mice who received the supplement navigated a maze faster and remembered the location of a hidden platform better than untreated mice of the same advanced age.

“In this study, significant improvements were observed in the spatial learning ability and short-term memory in supplement-treated aged mice. Long-term intake of blended antioxidant supplements may be effective, even considering the effects of aging and related increased oxidation in the body,” says lead study author Koji Fukui, professor at the Shibaura Institute of Technology, in a media release.

The brain-boosting formula, dubbed “Twendee X” or TwX, is a cocktail of eight ingredients, including vitamins C and B3, coenzyme Q10, and the amino acids glutamine and cysteine. While each of these nutrients is known to have antioxidant properties, researchers believe there may be a synergistic effect when they’re all combined.

Antioxidants are like the body’s rust-proofing system. They scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, a process known as oxidative stress. The brain is especially vulnerable to this type of cellular wear and tear over time.

As we age, our bodies become less efficient at producing and using antioxidants, while also facing more oxidative stress. This imbalance is thought to contribute to age-related cognitive decline and even neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. By providing a concentrated dose of antioxidants, supplements like TwX may help tip the scales back in our favor.

The brain benefits seen in the TwX mice weren’t accompanied by changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) or nerve growth factor (NGF), two proteins known to support the growth and survival of neurons. This suggests TwX may be working through other pathways to sharpen the aging mind.

The treated mice also showed potential benefits beyond the brain. In treadmill tests of endurance, they were able to run significantly farther than their untreated counterparts after a month of supplementation. This finding hints at the possibility of TwX countering age-related muscle decline, although the researchers note that more studies are needed to confirm this effect.

In what researchers found encouraging, mice suffered no apparent side effects from their month of supplementation, and there were no differences in body weight or food intake between the groups. Blood tests at the end of the study suggested the supplement may have even provided some liver-protective effects.

So when can you get your hands on this potential “smart supplement”? These findings, while promising, are still preliminary. The results need to be replicated in further animal studies and then tested for safety and efficacy in humans, a process that can take years.

Still, researchers are optimistic about the potential of nutraceutical blends like TwX to support healthy aging of the brain and body. They note that with lifespans getting longer and age-related conditions on the rise, preventive strategies that are safe, accessible, and easy to implement will be increasingly important.

“Although many types of antioxidant supplements are available, the effect is greater if multiple types are taken simultaneously rather than one type,” notes Fukui. “However, it is difficult to know which type and how much to take, as it is possible to take too many of some vitamins. We recommend only taking multivitamins that are guaranteed to be safe.”

In the meantime, there’s no need to wait for a magic memory pill. Many of the ingredients in TwX can be obtained through a balanced diet or over-the-counter supplements. And don’t forget the proven brain-booster that’s free to all: regular exercise. Numerous studies have shown that staying physically active can help keep your mind sharp well into your golden years.

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