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Question: Can fisetin, also called Cognisetin and Novusetin, really improve memory?
Answer: Fisetin is a flavonol with antioxidant properties that is promoted for improving brain health, cognition and memory -- although the evidence for this use rests only on animal studies. Laboratory research also suggests anti-cancer activity, and that it may lessen complications of type 1 diabetes. It has been sold as the branded ingredient Cognisetin, by Cyvex Nutrition, and is now sold by the same company as Novusetin.
Fisetin is found in plants such as the Japanese fruit wax tree (Rhus succedanea), and, in very small amounts, in strawberries, tomatoes, onions and other foods. However, you would have to eat about 1 pound of strawberries a day to get the dose typically provided in fisetin supplements (Maher, PLoSONE 2011).
Fisetin has been studied by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which own a patent for fisetin as a memory enhancer (U.S. Patent 7897637 B2). Laboratory and animal studies have found that it protects and promotes the growth of brain cells, and enhances memory in mice (Maher, Proc Natl Acad Sci 2006). However, there are no published studies on the effect of fisetin on memory, or its long-term safety at the dose provided by supplements, in people.
Based on amounts used in animal studies, a dose between 50 and 150 mg day has been proposed as potentially beneficial in people. Most supplements provide between 50 and 100 mg per daily serving and cost between $11 and $15 for a 30 day supply, although combination supplements that contain additional ingredients can cost as much as $45.