Perking Up The Aging Brain

Supplementing mice with pyruvate can raise brain energy reserves and protect against decline

Your brain is a huge energy drain and consumes around 20-30% of your entire body's energy at any one time. As the brain ages, this supply dwindles and drops in efficiency - contributing to a gradual loss of function. 

An energy boost

Seeking to boost energy and function to fight this decline, researchers tested a compound called pyruvate on aging mice. Pyruvate is an important intermediate in a large range of biological processes, and plays a crucial role in providing the body with energy. 

When mice were supplemented with large amounts of pyruvate, this raised levels of glycogen creatine and lactate - all markers of increased energy. Treated mice also exhibited different behaviour and abilities too, with improved spatial memory and curiosity about their surroundings and fellow mice. 

"The mice became more energetic and increased their explorative activity. It appears that these behavioral changes are directly due to the effect of pyruvate on brain function, since we didn't find that these mice had developed greater muscle force or endurance" 

Chronic supplementation

While the dosage used in the experiment translates as a considerable 10 grams a day in humans and may not be beneficial for everyone (or even humans at all), supplementation showed particular benefit in a transgenic mouse line used as a model of Alzheimer's disease. These results aren't groundbreaking, but considering pyruvate is already sold as a supplement and considered safe it's certainly worth further study. 

Read more at ScienceDaily