Can you pass the wasabi? It may help enhance memory in seniors, research says

Wasabi contains 6-methylsulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate, which is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. - PIXABAY

TOKYO: Wasabi – a traditional Japanese spice and well-known sushi condiment – may be beneficial in enhancing seniors’ cognitive abilities and memory performance, a recent study found.

Jointly conducted by Tohoku University in Miyagi prefecture, Japan, and Japanese food manufacturer Kinjirushi, the research focused on the impact of 12 weeks of wasabi intake in seniors.

Wasabi contains a bioactive compound called 6-methylsulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate, which is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The research looked into whether the compound has a positive effect on cognitive function for healthy adults aged 60 and above.

In the research, 72 healthy adults aged 60 to 80 were randomly divided into two groups. Those in one group were given 0.8mg of the compound in tablet form as a daily supplement for 12 weeks, and those in the other were given a placebo.

Post-trial cognitive tests revealed that the group taking the supplement showed a significant improvement in their episodic and working memories compared with the other group.

Cognitive improvements were particularly evident in terms of their ability to process short conversations, perform simple calculations and match names with faces.

The findings were published on Oct 30 in the online edition of European journal Nutrients.

Kinjirushi is exploring using the discovery to develop products for memory enhancement.

“With an ageing global population, we aim to utilise wasabi’s health benefits to enhance the healthy life expectancy and well-being of the elderly,” an official of the Nagoya-based company said. - The Straits Times/ANN

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