Cyanidin-3-O-Galactoside:
A Natural Compound for Brain Health

February 23rd, 2022

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside is a powerful anthocyanidin naturally present in some foods and found in particularly high concentrations in Aronia melanocarpa berries (chokeberries). Research has demonstrated that this active compound is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and play a beneficial role in brain health and cognition. Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside is believed to stimulate neurogenesis, improve neuron plasticity and reduce neuronal damage.

Cyanidin-3-O-galactoside-A-Natural-Compound-for-Brain-Health

What is Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside?

Cyanidin 3-O-galactoside (Cy3Gal), also known as ‘Idaein’, belongs to the class of organic compounds called anthocyanins and, more specifically, to the anthocyanidin-3-O-glycosides.

Cy3Gal is a water-soluble molecule found in high concentrations in some fruits –red-skinned apples and berries in particular– and it is responsible for their characteristic pigmentation.

Aronia melanocarpa berries, also known as chokeberries, contain the highest Cy3Gal content of all fruits, and are the most practical and efficient natural source to use for mechanical, water-based extraction of Cy3Gal in a high concentration.

Several health benefits of Cy3Gal in humans have been researched due to its excellent antioxidant capacity as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties [1].

However, brain health benefits and improved cognition are perhaps the most interesting when it comes to the health benefits provided by this active compound.

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside and brain health benefits

One of the most interesting properties associated with Cy3gal is the potential effect on brain health and cognition.

Cy3Gal is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter a wide range of brain regions, including the cortex, cerebellum and hippocampus.

In the hippocampus, Cy3Gal lowers the activity of acetylcholine esterase, triggering an increase in acetylcholine, which results in improved neuronal signalling.

At the same time, Cy3Gal increases the activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), resulting in increased neuron plasticity. [2]

Moreover, according to a recently published study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry administration of Cy3Gal for 8 weeks in ageing mice relieved neuronal damage in the hippocampus and cortex [3].

The researchers determined that protein kinase B (AKT) may be the target by Cy3Gal, which played a beneficial role in controlling the brain’s energy metabolism, suggesting that early intervention with Cy3Gal could promote neuroprotection.

All in all, scientific evidence shows that Cy3Gal may produce neuroprotective activity and improve cognitive function [1, 4, 5].

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside: Brainberry®’s hero compound

Cy3Gal is one of the main focuses of BioActor, which together with Maastricht University (“UM”) established a Public-Private Partnership (“PPP”) to study the effects of Brainberry® on brain fitness and cognition.

Brainberry® is an Aronia melanocarpa extract standardized for high levels of Cy3Gal, developed by BioActor.

Brainberry® was investigated in the first-ever study to link Aronia berry extract to improved cognitive performance.

A 12-week double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study that included 101 subjects linked Aronia berry extract (Brainberry®) to a significant increase in psychomotor speed, eye-hand coordination and focus [6].