Did you know your brain has its own house-cleaning process? It’s true! Up there, there are certain cells called microglia that remove and detoxify toxic proteins that interfere with your brain function.
As you get older, however, these microglia cells fail to keep up which can result in toxin build-up within the brain.
The newly discovered waste clearance pathway of the brain—known as the glymphatic system—and its tiny meningeal lymphatic vessels escort these toxins out of your brain.
A new study found that certain berries can lend a helping hand in this toxin clean-up process! (1)
Dr. Shibu Proulose, PhD of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, studied the effects of blueberry and strawberry extracts on mouse cells. He found that these berries strongly support autophagy, or natural cell detox/turnover.
The berry extracts work by inhibiting a certain protein that blocks the natural brain detox process that includes autophagy and natural antioxidant brain-cleansing activity. (1)
Autophagy (auto=automatic, phagy=cell eating) describes the natural process of how the body removes old toxic cells from the body. Science demonstrating the effect of autophagy from calorie restriction or fasting won a Nobel Prize in 2016. (2)
Berries provide essential antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents for the brain and body, but new research suggests that their benefits go far beyond free radical damage and anti-inflammatory support.
One study found that blueberries—which are late summer/fall-harvested—were profoundly effective in tumor protection in mice with breast cancer when just 5 percent of the diet was supplemented with blueberries. Compared to the controls, they found:
- 75 percent reduction in tumor volume (3)
- Decrease quantity of tumor cells (3)
- Positively altered expression of genes linked to inflammation, cancer, and metastasis (3)
- 70 percent fewer liver metastases (3)
- 25 percent lymph node metastases (3)
- Increased programmed cell death or apoptosis. (3)
Antioxidants in the Lymph
Powerful antioxidants in blueberries, along with the liver’s superoxide dismutase and lipid peroxides, have shown to be extremely active in the lymphatic system in the fight against the aging process. (4)
The lymphatic system is the carrier transport pathway for the immune system, it delivers fats to every cell of the body, and it also acts as the garbage can for undigested proteins and toxic fats that accumulate in the intestines.
For this reason, antioxidants (found in berries, for example) are extremely active in areas of lymphatic concentration throughout the body, particularly in those lining the digestive system (4), helping to trigger autophagy or self-cleansing of the brain. (1)
Ayurveda has always praised berries for being natural lymph-movers and for supporting the body’s detox pathways. Don’t miss the berry harvest this fall, as it is an important season to cleanse in as we transition into winter.