Effect of a Strawberry and Spinach Dietary Supplement on Spatial Learning in Early and Late Middle-Aged Female Rats.
Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 Dec 20 ;8(1). Epub 2018 Dec 20. PMID: 30577447
Paula M Millin
The present experiment sought to determine the effect of an eight-week, high antioxidant, whole-foods dietary supplement on Morris Water Maze performance in early and late middle-aged female rats. To improve ecological validity over past experimental studies, rats in the current study received antioxidants by consuming freeze-dried organic strawberries and spinach rather than by being given food extracts or antioxidant injections. Latency and path length measures both indicated that late middle-aged rats fed the high antioxidant diet performed on a par with the younger animals earlier in training than their standard diet counterparts (<0.05). Superior performance was not due to improved fitness in the antioxidant-supplemented rats. Thus, our model showed that a high antioxidant diet of relatively short duration mitigated the mild cognitive decline that was seen in control animals during the developmental period of late middle-age. The current results offer support for the promising role of dietary antioxidants in maintaining cognitive health in normal aging and extend past findings to females, who have been relatively neglected in experimental investigations. Moreover, the current model suggests that the period of transition from early to late middle age is a promising target for dietary intervention in healthy adults.