Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by an unnatural accumulation of amyloid plaque aggregates around nerve synapses that block the transmission of electrical and chemical transmitters that allow the brain to retain a high level of cognitive function and to store and retain memories. Millions of middle aged and older Americans suffer from some stage of Alzheimer’s disease, as the illness continues to escalate at an epidemic rate. It is projected that the prevalence will nearly quadruple in the next 50 years, by which time approximately 1 in 45 Americans will be afflicted with the disease.
Green Tea and Red Wine Extracts Impede Amyloid Formation to Prevent Alzheimer’s Development
The past decade has uncovered a small handful of natural, bioactive compounds that easily cross the blood-brain barrier where they have been found to alter the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK have determined that natural chemicals found in green tea and red wine may disrupt a key step of the Alzheimer's disease pathway. Publishing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists have identified the process which allows harmful clumps of protein to latch on to brain cells, causing them to die.
Scientists understand that amyloid proteins in the brain clump together to form toxic, sticky balls of varying shapes. These amyloid balls latch on to the surface of nerve cells in the brain by attaching to proteins on the cell surface called prions, ultimately causing nerve cells to malfunction and die. Study co-author Dr. Jo Rushworth commented "We wanted to investigate whether the precise shape of the amyloid balls is essential for them to attach to the prion receptors, like the way a baseball fits snugly into its glove.”
Supplement Daily with EGCG and Resveratrol to Slow Disease Progression
The team wanted to determine if it was possible to prevent the amyloid balls from binding to prions by manipulating their shape and stop the cells from dying. Scientists formed amyloid balls in a test tube and then added them to human and animal brain cells. Study authors concluded "When we added the extracts from red wine and green tea, which recent research has shown to re-shape amyloid proteins, the amyloid balls no longer harmed the nerve cells.”
Researchers determined that the bioactive compounds in green tea and red wine (EGCG and resveratrol) distorted the shape of the amyloid balls, preventing them from binding with prions and disrupting cellular function. Complimentary studies have also determined that curcumin, the active compound in the curry spice turmeric, crossed the delicate blood-brain barrier to halt the advancement of dementia. Health-minded individuals should consume green tea and red wine or take standardized supplements regularly to help prevent the initial development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.