Grape expectations for Alzheimers treatment

Last week we looked in this column at the role that coffee can play in slowing Alzheimer’s Disease by impacting a protein called amylin. Now another study has emerged showing that an extract of grape seed might also slow Alzheimer’s progression but in quite a different way

Previous research has suggested that small soluble clusters of A-beta protein oligomers that are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, are what kill brain cells and cause the memory loss associated with the disease. They also have the same effect in mice with Alzheimer’s. Previous research has also shown that a grape seed extract high in antioxidant polyphenols can stop A-beta oligomers being formed in the laboratory. This new study wanted to examine whether the same effect would happen in living mice.

For five months, the researchers gave grape seed extract to mice susceptible to developing Alzheimer\’s Disease. The results showed that the mice’s brains had significantly reduced levels of A-beta-56, a specific form of A-beta oligomer previously linked to the promotion of memory loss in Alzheimer’s. The really interesting finding was that levels of other A-beta compounds in the brain remained unchanged.

So grape seed extract would appear to be a gentle intervention that selectively targets the molecule causing memory loss in Alzheimer’s. Human trials need to be done of course, but the evidence is encouraging.

The authors of the study did ad that although they used an extract of grape seeds in this study, a known source of potent antioxidant polyphenols, red wine is also an excellent source of grape polyphenols. A glass of organic red followed by a fair trade organic brew doesn’t sound like too onerous a prescription to maintain one’s faculties does it?

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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