Study shows wasabi offers a "dramatic" boost in memory

A recent study out of Japan shows wasabi, the spicy ground rhizome that takes sushi from a meal and turns it into an event also offers a "really substantial" boost to short- and long-term memory.

I love wasabi. It makes meals a lot more fun. I also enjoy clearing my sinuses, having lived so long with allergies. Now researcher from Tohoku University shows that wasabi wasabi is even better! Their study shows measurable results in increasing memory retention.

CBS News:

"We knew from earlier animal studies that wasabi conferred health benefits," he said in an interview from his office in northeast Japan. "But what really surprised us was the dramatic change. The improvement was really substantial."

The main active component of Japanese wasabi is a biochemical called 6-MSITC, a known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory known to exist in only trace amounts elsewhere throughout the plant kingdom, Nouchi said. The double-blind, randomized study involved 72 healthy subjects, aged 60 to 80. Half of them took 100 milligrams of wasabi extract at bedtime, with the rest receiving a placebo.

After three months, the treated group registered "significant" boosts in two aspects of cognition, working (short-term) memory, and the longer-lasting episodic memory, based on standardized assessments for language skills, concentration and ability to carry out simple tasks. No improvement was seen in other areas of cognition, such as inhibitory control (the ability to stay focused), executive function or processing speed.

Subjects who received the wasabi treatment saw their episodic memory scores jump an average of 18%, Nouchi said, and scored on average 14% higher than the placebo group overall.