RELEVATE Nutrients


Key Food Groups: Dark Leafy Greens, Tea

Kaempferol: Role in Brain Health

Kaempferol is a neuroactive compound from a class of phytonutrients called flavonols, possessing a variety of protective benefits. Kaempferol can downregulate damaging inflammation,1 an example of which is when neuroinflammatory signals are released from support cells surrounding neurons (called microglia and astrocytes), sometimes when neurotoxic molecules build up in the brain. This can become a chronic situation, eventually leading toward excess inflammatory activity and neurodegeneration. Kaempferol can help by dampening these neuroinflammatory pathways.2

Kaempferol can also upregulate helpful antioxidant activity, shown in research to heighten the antioxidative response from enzymes to prevent unwanted neurotoxic byproducts from building up in neurons.3 Promising studies also suggest kaempferol is associated with natural antidiabetic activity by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the body and increasing insulin sensitivity in cells, thereby lowering a key risk factor for developing age-related brain diseases.4

Intake Deficiency and Relevance

Kale5 and tea6 both represent key components of brain healthy diets, and they are also major dietary sources of kaempferol. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans are not consuming the recommended daily allowance of leafy green vegetables and can be missing out on kaempferol’s neuroprotective qualities.7 Measuring against USDA Dietary Guidelines, Americans on-average consume 50-70% less than the recommended amount for dark green vegetables – a profound and broad intake gap.7

Two cutting-edge observational studies linked dietary intake of kaempferol to significantly reduced rates of cognitive decline8 and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.6 Another aspect to consider involves type 2 diabetes, a major factor that raises the risk of age-related brain decline. A large-scale study in Europe found a connection between type 2 diabetes and consumption of flavonols like kaempferol,9 suggesting this nutrient also carries indirect effects on brain health.

RELEVATE’s Form of Kaempferol

A concentrated kaempferol extract was selected for RELEVATE in order to assure consistent and compact dosing. The motivation for this stems from kaempferol’s significant and growing associations with lower risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease, slower cognitive decline, and lower amyloid burden.10,11 While this growing evidence points to the importance of kaempferol intake, getting it solely from diet may not be enough, especially given the profound intake deficiency at the population level. This is exacerbated by the varying content of flavonols in vegetables affected by season, light, climate, and even the way you prepare the food (boiling and microwaving may greatly reduce the kaempferol content in food).5

Concluding Thoughts to Consider

Leafy green vegetables and tea are studied extensively and have shown a significant reduction in cognitive decline and risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease.6,10,12 Promisingly, both leafy greens and tea are significant dietary sources of kaempferol, and those studies strongly correlated kaempferol intake with the reductions in risk – an astonishing 50% risk reduction of incident Alzheimer’s for people with the highest consumption of kaempferol.6 However, it should be noted that we can benefit from further study of this emerging nutrient and parse-out its unique effects independent of other flavonols and nutritional factors.

Regardless, evidence is building a strong case for kaempferol intake, and the argument becomes stronger when considering synergies. Research is finding kaempferol to have synergistic antioxidant potential with myricetin13 and synergistic anti-inflammatory potential with pterostilbene and quercetin,14 all of which are considered and included in our product design. Taking into account the impressive emerging dietary evidence, profound intake deficiency, and potential synergies with other nutrients, we consider kaempferol to be an important piece of neuroprotective dietary regimens.


Cited Research

  1. Kim, H. K. et al. Down-regulation of iNOS and TNF-α expression by kaempferol via NF-κB inactivation in aged rat gingival tissues. Biogerontology 8, 399–408 (2007).
  2. Park, S. E., Sapkota, K., Kim, S., Kim, H. & Kim, S. J. Kaempferol acts through mitogen-activated protein kinases and protein kinase B/AKT to elicit protection in a model of neuroinflammation in BV2 microglial cells. Br. J. Pharmacol. 164, 1008–1025 (2011).
  3. Kouhestani, S., Jafari, A. & Babaei, P. Kaempferol attenuates cognitive deficit via regulating oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in an ovariectomized rat model of sporadic dementia. Neural Regen. Res. 13, 1827–1832 (2018).
  4. Alkhalidy, H. et al. Kaempferol ameliorates hyperglycemia through suppressing hepatic gluconeogenesis and enhancing hepatic insulin sensitivity in diet-induced obese mice. J. Nutr. Biochem. 58, 90–101 (2018).
  5. Mageney, V., Neugart, S. & Albach, C. D. A Guide to the Variability of Flavonoids in Brassica oleracea. Molecules 22, (2017).
  6. Holland, T. M. et al. Dietary flavonols and risk of Alzheimer dementia. Neurology 94, e1749–e1756 (2020).
  7. Guenther, P. M., Dodd, K. W., Reedy, J. & Krebs-Smith, S. M. Most Americans Eat Much Less than Recommended Amounts of Fruits and Vegetables. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 106, 1371–1379 (2006).
  8. Morris, M. C. et al. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology 90, E214–E222 (2018).
  9. Zamora-Ros, R. et al. Dietary Intakes of Individual Flavanols and Flavonols Are Inversely Associated with Incident Type 2 Diabetes in European Populations. J. Nutr. 144, 335–343 (2014).
  10. Morris, M. C., Evans, D. A., Tangney, C. C., Bienias, J. L. & Wilson, R. S. Associations of vegetable and fruit consumption with age-related cognitive change. Neurology 67, 1370–1376 (2006).
  11. Kang, J. H., Ascherio, A. & Grodstein, F. Fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive decline in aging women. Ann. Neurol. 57, 713–720 (2005).
  12. Morris, M. C. et al. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology 90, e214–e222 (2018).
  13. Hidalgo, M., Sánchez-Moreno, C. & de Pascual-Teresa, S. Flavonoid-flavonoid interaction and its effect on their antioxidant activity. Food Chem. 121, 691–696 (2010).
  14. Saw, C. L. L. et al. The berry constituents quercetin, kaempferol, and pterostilbene synergistically attenuate reactive oxygen species: Involvement of the Nrf2-ARE signaling pathway. Food Chem. Toxicol. 72, 303–311 (2014).