Resveratrol, a compound found in chocolate and red wine, may be the key to warding off Alzheimer's disease.
A chemical found in dark chocolate and grapes may be effective at slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has shown. According to a report from the New Scientist, resveratrol, which can also be used to treat cancer, diabetes, and other neurological disorders, has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related diseases in lab animals.
A highly restricted diet in lab animals was shown to activate a certain group of enzymes in the digestive system called sirtuins. These enzymes affected gene expression and helped protect the body from the effects of stress, in this case caused by a poor diet.
Doctors have shown that resveratrol may be effective at stimulating sirtuins without restricting calorie intake. While the verdict is still out on how much of a role sirtuins play in the development of Alzheimer’s, resveratrol could be a simple way to activate the enzymes in high-risk patients.
The latest study, published by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, traced the effects of resveratrol on 119 patients over the course of a year. Half of the patients received one gram of the chemical, and the other half received a placebo.
The placebo group showed typical signs of Alzheimer’s progression, including a drop in the level of amyloid beta proteins in the blood. This is a telltale sign that the brain is undergoing serious changes.
The group that took resveratrol showed no significant change in amyloid beta protein levels in their blood. The study focused mainly on the safety of taking resveratrol supplements in a large dose. While resveratrol is found naturally in chocolate and wine, researchers say you could never consume enough of these products to get a dose that would protect against Alzheimer’s.