There is no shortage of research in Alzheimer's exploring everything from how exercise may prevent the condition to how naps may lead to it. One key part of this work is determining how to tackle the symptoms of the disease.
Green tea and carrots
Now a new study is revealing that compounds found in green tea and carrots may hold the key to reversing Alzheimer's-like symptoms. The research, by the University of Southern California (USC), has seen promising results in mice genetically programmed to develop the disorder.
The researchers are now stipulating that a diet rich in those elements could help protect against Alzheimer's and dementia.
"You don't have to wait 10 to 12 years for a designer drug to make it to market; you can make these dietary changes today," said senior author Terrence Town, a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the Keck School of Medicine of USC's Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. "I find that very encouraging."
The research argues that combination therapy, as seen in other diseases such as cancer, may be the best option for treating Alzheimer's.
The novel study focused on two compounds: EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate and FA, or ferulic acid. The first can be found in green tea while the latter is prominent in carrots.
The research saw 32 mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms separated into four distinct groups. Those groups were given either a combination of EGCG and FA, or EGCG or FA only, or a placebo.
Restoring working memory
The mice were fed this special diet for three months. Once that period was finished, the mice underwent several neuropsychological tests similar to those used in humans to test for dementia.
"After three months, the combination treatment completely restored working memory and the Alzheimer's mice performed just as well as the healthy comparison mice," Town said.
Town speculates the reversal came from the compounds' ability to prevent amyloid precursor proteins from breaking up into the smaller proteins called amyloid beta. These little proteins are believed to be responsible for thwarting Alzheimer patients' brains from working efficiently.
But that is not all, the compounds also showed signs of reducing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, conditions found in humans with Alzheimer's.
More importantly, perhaps is that the dosage given was just 30 mg per kilogram of body weight. This is a dosage that is easily consumed and well-tolerated by humans.
The question now becomes: when will you have your next cup of green tea?
The study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.