While still in early phases, new research suggests that resveratrol could prevent the onset of Alzheimer and slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease.
Resveratrol, a natural compound that is found in grapes, berries, dark chocolate and red wine could be the next preventive treatment for Alzheimer.
Scott Turner, lead researcher and director of the Memory Disorders Program at the Medical Center of the Georgetown University called for caution at the moment. The study is still in the second phase of the clinical trial, and while encouraging results have been obtained so far, further research is certainly needed.
Resveratrol was found to have a significant effect on slowing down the aging of cells and the effects of the biomarker that signals the progression of Alzheimer disease. The biomarker is a protein titled beta amyloid. For patients involved in the study and who had a daily intake of two grams of concentrated resveratrol, the compound was found to slow down the decline of this protein.
Beta amyloid is naturally found in spinal fluids and our bloodstream. However, as Alzheimer’s disease sets in and progresses, the protein changes its composition and releases toxic beta amyloid in the brain.
The results of the study obtained thus far were published in the Neurology journal. These indicate that for patients who received resveratrol, beta amyloid declining process was slowed. The process is not fully understood at the moment, yet it stands clear that concentrated doses of resveratrol stimulate enzymes (sirtuins) that are responsible for slowing down the aging of brain cells and the metabolism.
According to Doctor Turner:
“So it’s really targeting what we think are regulators of aging. And of course aging is the No.1 risk factor for Alzheimer’s”.
Sirtuins are known to lend more energy to cells and enable them to fend off damage and withstand stress. As cells are lacking nourishment, sirtuins are activated under calorie restriction conditions.
In this sense, resveratrol could be acting precisely as the pharmacological mimic of caloric restriction, while at the same time feeding cells.
Beta amyloid protein was not changed over the period of the study with the patients who were given resveratrol. However, for the patients taking the placebo, the levels of beta amyloid decreased both in the blood stream and in the cerebrospinal fluid. Decreased levels of beta amyloid indicate the progression of Alzheimer.
Moreover, an analysis of the MRI scans of both placebo-treated patients and resveratrol-treated patients showed a decrease in brain volume.
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