There is a trend of increased inflammation as we age, not in the form of short-term responses to injury or infection that are a key part of our bodies defence against such insults, but as a continuous, low-level state that impairs the body’s normal functioning. High levels of this type of inflammation are associated with negative effects on multiple aspects of human health, ranging from cardiovascular disease, to metabolic disease and cancer. There is also a strong connection between high levels of inflammation and cognitive decline. For instance diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are associated with pro-inflammatory environments in the brain. We have now shown in multiple human cell lines that SibeliusTM: Sage has anti-inflammatory effects 1,2, which have the potential to reduce levels of inflammation throughout the body and combat the effects of this feeding through to neuroinflammation, helping to maintain cognitive health.
Two key inflammation markers in particular that have shown a robust response to SibeliusTM: Sage are VCAM-1 and IL-17. Studies in older adults in the US have shown that higher levels of the inflammation marker VCAM-1 are correlated with poorer cognitive performance as well as reduced cerebral blood flow (the amount of blood flow to the brain)3,4. One mechanism that has been suggested for this is the hardening and reduction in elasticity of blood vessels caused by inflammation-induced atherosclerosis, which reduces the amount of blood flow that can reach brain. Similarly, studies have shown that the inflammation marker IL-17 can damage and impair the function of the blood brain barrier; an important barrier that filters the blood to prevent harmful compounds from entering the brain5,6. By reducing the integrity of this barrier, IL-17 can contribute towards the development of an inflammatory environment in the brain. As such, but helping to reduce the levels of these inflammation markers, SibeliusTM: Sage may help to combat the effects of inflammation and help to maintain a healthy flow of blood to the brain and the integrity of the blood brain barrier, to support cognitive health.
Our research has also added to the body of evidence supporting the cholinergic properties of sage, once again demonstrating inhibition of an enzyme (Acetylcholinesterase) that is involved in the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which plays an important role in the formation of memories. In addition to this we show similar effects on enzymes involved in the breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters, which includes dopamine and serotonin. This adds to the body of evidence suggesting that the modulation of neurotransmitters by SibeliusTM: Sage to maintain healthy levels in the brain, contributes towards the near-immediate cognitive performance benefits demonstrated for the ingredient. And it is not just immediate benefits that might be gained by these activities. For example signalling of monoamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine has been shown to decline with age7, so SibeliusTM: Sage could help to maintain this at more youthful levels. Furthermore, maintaining higher levels of monoamines through intake of rosmarinic acid has been suggested as a means to reduce the formation of amyloid beta plaques: A major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease8. Thus, by helping to maintain healthy levels of neurotransmitters, SibeliusTM: Sage could help to support our cognitive health over the longer-term as well.