A compound is neuroprotective if it preserves the structure and function of brain cells, for example by preventing oxidation and inflammation, actions that are also fundamental to maintaining the health of plants and the animals that consume them. Also important is countering protein deposits from cellular degeneration that occur naturally in the aging brain (and plant!) and contribute to mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Promoting neurogenesis (the growth of neurones) and neuroplasticity (the formation of new neurons) underpins brain function, and studies show such effects by plant chemicals. Though studying neuroprotection clinically requires long-term trials, lab studies show many plant molecules, from polyphenols to alkaloids, are neuroprotective by different mechanisms.


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