boy coloring with glass of OJ

Brain Health and Florida Orange Juice

Nutrition is important

Florida Orange Juice has several nutrients and plant compounds that are part of a healthy, balanced diet for brain health:


Florida Orange Juice provides more nutrition than you may expect. Among many other nutrients, Florida OJ is rich in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant1 and it’s also packed with bioactive nutrients that are being studied for their role in brain health and cognitive function.

The nutrients in Florida Orange Juice are being studied for their role in brain health and cognition.

Nutrition Research Corner for Health Professionals

A clinical study in healthy older adults reported that adults who consumed 100% orange juice scored better on combined tests for global cognitive function compared to the control group.2 In another study, orange juice with orange pomace added (to increase the fiber and flavonoid content of the juice) was shown to benefit psychomotor speed, attention/executive function and subjective alertness in healthy overweight or obese men.3 The consumption of citrus fruit and orange juice was associated with better performance on some cognitive tests in a study of older Norwegian adults.4 Furthermore, improvement on the DSST test (which measures processing speed, attention, switching and other cognitive functions) was also seen in young adults after consuming 100 percent citrus juice; increased blood flow to an area of the brain related to these functions was also observed in a separate study.5 A large cohort study reported that drinking orange juice may be associated with a lower risk of memory loss over time in men.6

Flavonoids

Flavonoids can cross the blood-brain barrier that the body uses to protect the brain from harmful or damaging agents.7,8 Flavonoids found in citrus, specifically hesperidin and naringenin, may help maintain cell health in brain tissue as they appear to cross the blood-brain barrier to the greatest extent.7 Flavonoids may reduce inflammation and maintain or improve blood flow to the brain which could have positive effects on cognition.5,7-10

A clinical study in healthy older adults reported that adults who consumed 100% orange juice scored better on combined tests for global cognitive function compared to the control group.6 In another study, orange juice with orange pomace added (to increase the fiber and flavonoid content of the juice) was shown to benefit psychomotor speed, attention/executive function and subjective alertness in healthy overweight or obese men.3 The consumption of citrus fruit and orange juice was associated with better performance on some cognitive tests in a study of older Norwegian adults.4 Furthermore, improvement on the DSST test (which measures processing speed, attention, switching and other cognitive functions) was also seen in young adults after consuming 100 percent citrus juice; increased blood flow to an area of the brain related to these functions was also observed in a separate study.5

The flavonoid hesperidin is highly concentrated in citrus and rarely found in other foods, making orange juice a unique source of this flavonoid.11

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is concentrated in cerebral spinal fluid and in the brain;12-14 thus, vitamin C may play a role in brain health.12 However, the precise role that vitamin C plays on cognition is unknown.15 Some studies report higher vitamin C levels to be associated with better cognitive function, while others do not.12,14,15 While research regarding the use of vitamin C on brain health is inconclusive, vitamin C may have a protective effect on brain aging, particularly in the elderly with insufficient vitamin C status.12,15

100% orange juice contains more than 100% of the Daily Value of vitamin C in an 8-ounce glass. 16

Thiamin (B1)

Thiamin deficiency affects the nervous system and can cause memory loss, confusion, dementia, and other nervous system issues.17-19 Lower amounts of thiamin and thiamin-dependent enzymes in the blood and brain have also been reported in several studies of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease.17,18 Few and inconsistent studies have been performed on the effects of thiamin on improving cognition and preventing dementia; however, thiamin may play a beneficial role in brain health.

Vitamin B6

Research suggests vitamin B6 may play a role in brain health. Early studies in animals and adult humans have shown reduced neurotransmitters and abnormal EEGs (electroencephalograms) with vitamin B6 depletion.19 Case reports describe clinical symptoms of B6 deficiency to include depression and confusion.19,20 Few observational studies report associations between low B6 and other B vitamins and cognitive decline, but due to other factors within the studies, these results are not conclusive.20 Therefore, the role of vitamin B6 and cognition is still unclear and an ongoing area of research.19,20

An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice has 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin B6.16*

*Values based on a 2000 calorie diet. Nutrient values may vary based on manufacturer, brand and product types.


References

  1. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (2018, May 11): Nutrient Function Claims. Retrieved June 12, 2019 from http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/general-food-requirements-and-guidance/labelling/for-industry/health-claims/eng/1392834838383/1392834887794?chap=9
  2. Kean et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(3):506-514.
  3. Alharbi et al. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(6):2021-2029.
  4. Nurk et al. Br J Nutr. 2010;104:1190-1201.
  5. Lamport et al. Br J Nutr. 2017;116(12):2160-2168.
  6. Yuan et al. Neurology. 2019; 92(1):e63-e75.
  7. Spencer et al. Mol Aspects of Med. 2012;33(1):83-97.
  8. Jaeger et al. Mol Aspects Med. 2017. In press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mam.2017.11.003
  9. Joseph et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(3):419-444.
  10. Francis et al. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006;47 S2:215-220.
  11. Bhagwat S, Haytowitz D. USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods Release 3.2. In. Beltsville, MD: Unites States Department of Agriculture; 2015
  12. Travica et al. Nutrients. 2017;9(960) doi:10.3390/nu9090960.
  13. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin C. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2000:95-185.
  14. Alrt et al. Neurochem Res. 2012;37(12):2706-2714.
  15. Vitamin C. Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C
  16. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 (slightly revised). US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory; May 2016. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/
  17. Thiamin. Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/thiamin
  18. Thiamin. Health Sheet for Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/
  19. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Recommended Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences; 1998:58-83.