Cerebral energy metabolism declines with advanced aging, and is implicated in age-related
cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and other forms of neurodegenerative disease
(Parkinson's disease). In addition, age-associated increase in systemic and neuroinflammation
is associated with a higher likelihood for development of Alzheimer's disease and
neurodegenerative disease in older adults. Furthermore, decreased cerebral energy metabolism
and increased neuroinflammation are both associated with deficits in cognitive function, even
in the absence of neurodegenerative disease. In older adults, decreased cognition is strongly
associated with the development of AD, increased rates of hospitalization, loss of functional
independence, and increased mortality rate. Novel methods for preventing cognitive decline
and neurodegenerative diseases in older adults are needed the world's aging population.
Current research suggests that nutrients in fruits and vegetables produce strong anti-oxidant
and anti-proliferative effects. Most Americans are not consuming the minimum recommendations
of fruits and vegetables per day to receive these benefits. Whole food-based nutritional
products, such as Fermented Papaya Product (FPP), may provide a healthy alternative for
individuals. FPP, which is made by bio-fermentation of Carica papaya, has been found to
enhance antioxidant protection and to decrease DNA damage in healthy older adults.
Furthermore, if FPP increases cerebral energy metabolism and down-regulates
neuroinflammation, with resulting effects on cognition, dietary supplementation with FPP may
have preventative benefits for age-related cognitive conditions, including MCI, AD,
Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.