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Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. One powerful supplement has been shown to help with brain inflammation potentially reducing a person’s risk of developing the disease.
The effects of resveratrol on Alzheimer’s disease brings new detail regarding the immune response within the brain.
Although it is not being heralded as a cure, the molecule and its effects will help focus further research.
Resveratrol is a compound that occurs naturally in certain foods, including the skin of grapes and red wine. It is also found in grape juice, peanuts, cocoa, and berries such as blueberries and cranberries.
Researchers’ interest in resveratrol was sparked when studies in the 1990s found health benefits to drinking moderate amounts of red wine, including the possibility of a lower risk of dementia.
A study published in Neurology conducted the largest nationwide clinical trial on high-dosage resveratrol and its benefits pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that long-term resveratrol treatment of individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s appeared to stop, or at least slow, the progress of the disease.
A protein called amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) is known to decline as dementia worsens.
The study in 2015 showed that, in individuals who took resveratrol, the Abeta40 levels remained stable, whereas the placebo group’s levels dropped.
Researchers found increased inflammation appears to worsen the disease with resveratrol potentially helping with this.
Additionally, the team found that resveratrol increased levels of compounds linked to a long-term “adaptive” immune response; this suggests an involvement of inflammatory cells that are resident in the brain.
This type of reaction degrades and removes neurotoxic proteins.
“Scientists are still trying to understand how resveratrol works in the body, and whether it might help prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease,” said Alzheimer’s News Today.
It added: “In some preclinical studies, resveratrol decreased the amount of beta-amyloid protein in cells grown in laboratories and in the brains of mice by promoting the breakdown of the protein. Beta-amyloid forms the plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Another theory is that resveratrol mimics the effect of restricting calorie intake.
“A low-calorie diet has been found in animal studies to prevent or delay the onset of age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
“A low-calorie diet appears to activate a class of enzymes known as sirtuins, and resveratrol seems to have the same effect.”
Other health benefits of resveratrol include:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts longevity
- Protects the brain
- Increases insulin sensitivity
- Eases joint pain
- Suppresses cancer cells.
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