Fast Access of Some Grape Pigments to the Brain

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 8 No. 4 • October 2005

Fast Access of Some Grape Pigments to the Brain

As important as research into the mechanisms of potential health benefits of flavonoids (such as the anthocyanin pigments found in fruits such as berries and grapes, vegetables, and wines) is research into their bioavailability. Anthocyanins, for example, are quickly detected in plasma after ingestion, but at very low levels.1 A new study1 was done to determine whether and to what extent anthocyanins are able to enter the brain. The study was done with male Wistar rats.

The authors used a solution of pure anthocyanins extracted from grapes, which was administered to rats intragastrically through a surgical procedure. Each rat was administered what corresponded to about 2.3 grams of grapes. The authors calculate that this amounts to about 597 grams of Cabernet Sauvignon grape (or 284 grams of Teroldego grape) for a person of 65 kg.

They detected the appearance of the anthocyanin malvidin-3-glucoside in the plasma of the anesthetized rats only 6 minutes after administration of the grape solution in the stomach. What the authors call the “real novelty” of their work was finding significant amounts of anthocyanins in the brain (removed immediately after 10 minutes of intragastric administration of the grape solution). They found the average amounts of malvidin-3-glucoside and its p-coumarate ester in the brain at similar or nearly 10-fold higher concentrations, respectively, than in the plasma. The authors cite evidence that anesthesia per se does not disrupt the blood-brain barrier.


  1. Passamonti et al. Fast access of some grape pigments to the brain. J Agric Food Chem 53:7029-34 (2005).

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