Antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of blueberry polyphenols: a critical review

Nutr Neurosci. 2011 May;14(3):119-25. doi: 10.1179/1476830511Y.0000000007.


Objective: The aim of this work was to highlight the effects and the possible mechanisms of the action of blueberry polyphenols on the central nervous system (CNS).

Methods: An analysis was carried out, in a temporal order, of the most important literature about this topic and the results have been correlated with the beneficial and protective effects, mainly concerning the CNS.

Discussion: Over the last 10 years an increasing scientific interest has developed about polyphenols, which are very abundant in blueberries, as they have been seen to produce favourable effects related to neuroprotection and linked to a possible decrease of age-related cognitive and motor decline, as shown by the improvement of such functions in animal models with a supplemented diet. Such effects could not only be explained through a purely antioxidant action but also through more complex mechanisms related to inflammation, genic expression, and regulation of cell survival.

Conclusions: Despite the wealth of data from animal studies, there is a relative lack of data concerning human beings, even if some positive results are beginning to emerge. Therefore, blueberry polyphenols could become useful pharmacological agents for various conditions including neurological diseases, but further studies are still necessary to attain this objective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Blueberry Plants / chemistry*
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Models, Animal
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols