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Spinach Extract


Spinach leaves, containing several active components, including flavonoids, exhibit antioxidative, antiproliferative, and antiinflammatory properties in biological systems. Spinach extracts have been demonstrated to exert numerous beneficial effects, such as chemo- and central nervous system protection and anticancer and anti-aging functions.

Extracts of spinach leaves show high anti-oxidative activities and are well tolerated in animal studies. No side effects are reported in these animal studies.

Spinach may have benefits of cutting cancer risks.

Japanese researchers proposed to use spinach extracts as anticancer agent. They found that spinach contained a large amount of sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol and this compound is a potent inhibitor for certain human cancer cell proliferations. Of the six subspecies of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) tested, "Anna" had the largest amount of sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol, strongest inhibitory activity toward DNA polymerase and greatest effect on human cancer cell proliferation. Other plants containing this compound include parsley, green onion, chive, sweet pepper, green
tea, carrot and garlic.

Longnecker MP et al from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences observed the association between intake of fruits, vegetables (such as carrots, spinach), vitamin A and lower risk of breast cancer in some studies.

Spinach may have benefits in neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers from United States Department of Agriculture reported six-month-supplementation of spinach (6.4 g/kg DEA) was linked to significant retardation of age-effects on neurodegenerative diseases in a study of 344 rats.

Researchers from National Institute on Drug Abuse have shown that treatment with diets enriched with blueberry, spinach, or spirulina reduced neurodegenerative changes in aged animals. They further demonstrated that chronic treatment with blueberry, spinach, or spirulina reduces ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis and cerebral infarction in a study of Sprague-Dawley rats.

Researchers from University of South Florida reported 6 weeks of a spinach-enriched diet ameliorated deficits in cerebellar-dependent delay classical eyeblink learning and reduced the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) and TNFbeta in the cerebelli of eyeblink-trained animals. Old
animals on the spinach-enriched lab chow diet learned delay eyeblink conditioning significantly faster than old animals on the regular diet.

Aging is associated with a decline in motor coordination and the ability to learn new motor learning skills. This loss of function is correlated with a decline in cerebellar beta-adrenergic receptor function.

Researchers from University of Colorado Health Sciences Center examined the role of oxidative stress on this system by exposing young rats to normobaric
hyperoxia. This exogenous oxidative insult resulted in a decline in cerebellar beta-adrenergic receptor function that resembleed what was observed in normal
aged rats. This effect of hyperoxia was blocked by antioxidants. They also examined the effects of nutritional supplementation of aged rats with diets high in
antioxidant capacity. They concluded that foods such as blueberries and spinach can prevent and/or reverse age-related declines in cerebellar noradrenergic
receptor function.

Bickford PC et al, Boston, explained that reactive oxygen species are involved in the decline in function associated with aging. Spinach diets or supplements containing antioxidants reverse age-induced declines in beta-adrenergic receptor

function in cerebellar Purkinje neurons; benefit age-related deficits in motor learning and memory. In addition, motor learning is important for adaptation to changes in the environment and is thus critical for rehabilitation following stroke, spinal cord injury, and the onset of some neurodegenerative diseases.

In sum, increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables (such as spinach) high in antioxidant activity may be an important component of a healthy living strategy designed to maximize neuronal and cognitive functioning into old age.