A new study indicates that the reservatrol in red wine could help treat Alzheimer's disease.
According to Yahoo news, a recent trial indicates that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, could stabilize the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
Michio Takaoka, a Japanese scientist, discovered resveratrol in 1939. Ever since, resveratrol has been identified as an antioxidant in over 70 different plant species, red wine, and even dark chocolate. The compound is believed to assist in improving the health of both the brain and the heart.
There are two potential ways resveratrol could treats Alzheimer’s. Firstly, resveratrol increases insulin sensitivity, which stabilizes glucose levels. Secondly, the small molecules composing resveratrol can pass the blood brain barrier and destroy the amyloid beta plaque that many scientists believe cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Since oxidative damage to brain cells is a direct contributor to Alzheimer’s disease, many scientists believe that antioxidant supplements can be effective treatments.
The results of the most recent trial “are very interesting,” says the study’s principal investigator, R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center.
According to Dr. Marilyn Petro, Associate Professor of Psychology at Nebraska Wesleyan University, “We have observed that resveratrol (an anti-inflammatory plant compound) protected the middle-aged mouse brain from ethanol-induced damage as measured by a spatial learning and memory task. We found that resveratrol-supplemented diets led to lowered expression of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 in the hippocampus, which is key to spatial learning. Additionally, we found that an enriched housing environment also had beneficial effects on the middle-aged mouse’s spatial abilities.”
Maheendhar Kodali, a former Alzheimer’s disease researcher, added that “Administration of resveratrol (RESV), a naturally occurring polyphenol found in high concentrations in the skin of red grapes, appears suitable for counteracting age-related detrimental changes in the hippocampus because of its pro-angiogenic and antiinflammatory properties with no adverse side effects.”
The study involved 119 participants who were given high doses of resveratrol, up to one gram by mouth twice daily. Patients who were treated with increasing doses of resveratrol over 12 months showed little or no change in amyloid-beta40 or Abeta40 levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Conversely, patients who took a placebo showed a decrease in the levels of Abeta40 compared with their levels at the beginning of the study.
“We’re not sure how to interpret this finding. A similar decrease in brain volume was found with some anti-amyloid immunotherapy trials,” Turner claimed. “A decrease in Abeta40 is seen as dementia worsens and Alzheimer’s disease progresses; still, we can’t conclude from this study that the effects of resveratrol treatment are beneficial.”
This study ran from 2012 to 2014, and involved 21 participating medical centers across the U.S.