There is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, researchers have now found two natural substances in laboratory tests that make the typical protein deposits in the nerve cells disappear. They are found in green tea, red wine and other foods. What that means.
According to the latest calculations, there are 1.8 million people living with dementia in Germany, most of whom are affected by Alzheimer’s. Experts assume that the number of cases will increase sharply in the coming decades. Thanks to improved diagnostic options, however, it is already apparent that younger people under the age of 65 are increasingly affected. The German Alzheimer Society recently reported on this.
A cure for the disease is not yet possible, and the cause of Alzheimer’s is still not entirely clear. At the beginning of the year, researchers at the renowned Tufts University in the US state of Massachusetts showed that the herpes virus could possibly cause the typical protein deposits (beta-ameloid plaques) in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
Building on this, the researchers now wanted to know how to slow down the progression of this insidious dementia. To do this, they tested 21 different substances on diseased nerve cells in the laboratory and measured their effect on the growth of Alzheimer’s plaques. They published their results in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
It was found that some of the substances tested were able to slow down the progression of the disease due to their antiviral effect. However, the researchers wanted to find a component that could fight the plaques even without antiviral activity and also showed an effect, regardless of the causes of the disease.
They found that two secondary plant substances reduced the formation of plaques in the nerve cells without side effects: the so-called catechins, which are found in green tea and resveratrol, which is found in red wine, among other things. Catechins have already been studied in cancer research for their antioxidant effects, and resveratrol in anti-aging research for its antioxidant effects.
“These compounds that passed the screen had virtually no plaques visible after about a week,” lead researcher Dana Cairns explains her research in a press release. However, it is not yet certain whether this laboratory effect actually works in patients. Because potentially effective substances often do not get from the blood to the brain or are not sufficiently absorbed by the body due to lower bioavailability.
Nevertheless, the researcher sees great potential, because the two active ingredients could either be supplied through dietary supplements or consumed through nutrition. For example, resveratrol is found in other foods in addition to red wine, such as
Cairns explains that eating such foods could therefore potentially help slow down neurodegenerative processes in the brain. Nevertheless, she advises consulting a doctor before making major dietary changes. In any case, the two substances could be important for the development of Alzheimer’s drugs.
If you want to keep your brain healthy, there are other measures you can take in addition to a healthy diet. According to research, these twelve factors help to reduce the risk of dementia by 40 percent.
Hearing loss is the most important modifiable risk factor for dementia. Because even slight hearing loss can double the risk of dementia, as previous studies have shown.
Those who challenge themselves mentally throughout their lives can reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s. Because during memory training, new synapses are formed in the brain, which in turn can take over the tasks of dead ones. Learning languages is ideal for this, but also making music, dancing, memo games and of course reading, preferably books, daily newspapers – and don’t skim the pages, but read it to the end and then sum up the most important facts in your head.
In fact, even a minor concussion many years later can double the risk of dementia. The risk increases even more if the head injury is real and/or if unconsciousness has occurred, keyword “boxer’s dementia”.
Even blood pressure values of 140/90 mm Hg and even higher can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Because the high pressure damages the vessels, starting with the smallest ones – as they are also important in the brain. Damaged blood vessels can no longer supply the brain with sufficient blood, the supply stumbles, and cells die.
Alcohol is a neurotoxin and damages the brain. Especially when dementia sets in under the age of 65, there is often an alcohol problem. Depending on the level of alcohol consumption and how long it lasts, it can quadruple the overall risk of dementia! Because alcohol not only damages the nerve cells, but also loosens their connections.
Above all, a BMI of 30 and more in middle age is associated with an increased risk of dementia. It increases by more than 30 percent! Adipose tissue is known to produce inflammatory substances that damage vessels and thus blood circulation.
Smoking is not only a risk factor for cancer and arteriosclerosis with their consequences, but also for dementia. Anyone who smokes for more than 20 years has a twice as high risk of dementia as non-smokers, which various studies have shown.
Mental stress could demonstrably damage the brain, the plaques typical of Alzheimer’s seem to occur more frequently. However, the connections still need to be explored further. So it is possible that the symptoms associated with depression – such as sleep disorders – actually promote dementia. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to encourage the accumulation of toxic waste products in the brain, damaging it. Sufficient, deep sleep, on the other hand, supports the brain in its regeneration.
Anyone who has always lived alone or been widowed has an increased risk of developing dementia. Because the brain function is also dependent on social contacts. The daily, new stimuli, the direct conversation, the community are, so to speak, the elixir of life for our brain.
Nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, especially ultra-fine dust from combustion vehicles, have been shown to damage the brain. There are now a number of studies on this.
Physical inactivity is directly linked to dementia. In principle, this connection does not have to be proven by studies. Because the opposite, i.e. sporting activity, is known to give the body a lot of oxygen, as well as healthy vessels, organs, a favorable metabolism, normal weight and is also brain training – all protective factors against dementia.
People who have type 2 diabetes are particularly at risk of dementia in old age. The higher the blood sugar levels on average, the higher the risk of dementia in old age.