Japanese Flavouring Linked To Memory Boost In The Elderly

Research Claims That Wasabi Aids Memory

Image of a senior man. Credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock.co.uk

A recent scientific investigation suggests that a common sushi accompaniment could be the key to a sharper memory, and help ward off cognitive decline.

For those who find their memory isn’t quite what it used to be, there could be some good news, especially if you like sushi. Recently, the results of a scientific study, published in Nutrients, highlighted that the traditional Japanese spicy condiment, wasabi, is a potential ally against cognitive decline in those aged 60 and above.

While age-related cognitive deterioration is considered normal up to a degree, it can be exacerbated by stress, fatigue, and illness.

Wasabi’s Potential In Cognitive Health

Wasabi, also known as Japanese horseradish, is typically paired with sushi and now, potentially, with strategies to mitigate memory loss.

Researchers from Japan studied healthy adult volunteers aged between 60 to 80 years. The participants were divided into two groups, one receiving a daily wasabi supplement, the other a placebo, with the test period lasting approximately three months.

The wasabi capsule contained 100 milligrams of the extract, with 0.8 milligrams of the active compound 6-methylsulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC), which is the main bioactive compound of wasabi. This compound is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Through standard cognitive tests, the wasabi group demonstrated ‘significantly’ enhanced episodic and working memory abilities, which relate to recalling daily events and processing information in real-time.

Study Findings And Conclusions

The researchers commented: ‘The current randomised controlled trial revealed that an intake of 0.8 mg of 6-MSITC for 12 weeks significantly improved memory functioning, including episodic and working memory, compared to the placebo group, but we did not find any significant improvements in other cognitive functions.’

The study concluded: ‘This study is the first to demonstrate that 6-MSITC has a benefit on memory functioning in healthy older adults.’

Age-Related Vs Dementia

Age-Related change

  • Making a bad decision now and again
  • Missing a monthly payment
  • Not being able to remember which day it is from time to time
  • Occasionally forgetting which word to use
  • Misplacing items on occasion

Signs of Dementia

  • Poor judgement and decision making
  • Unable to manage a budget
  • Completely losing track of dates and seasons
  • Struggling to hold a conversation
  • Losing things and being unable to retrace one’s steps

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.