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Grape Seed Extract May Protect Against Alzheimer’s

Posted Jul 07 2008 7:03pm

Research by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City has suggested that red grape seed extract may help protect against memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti and colleagues found that rodents prone to developing Alzheimer’s-like brain changes showed better cognitive function at 11 months of age, which is when they would normally have shown some memory impairment, if they were given a grape seed polyphenolic extract.

Polyphenolic compounds are antioxidants naturally found in wine, tea, chocolate, and some fruits and vegetables.  The mice used in the study were given amounts of polyphenols equivalent to what a person would consume with a daily glass or two of red wine.  The researchers used MegaNatural AZ red grape seed extract made by Polyphenolics, which is a Madera, CA-based grape products supplier.

The mice were given a daily dose of polyphenolics equivalent to 1 gram for humans, or plain water as a control.  After five months, the mice given the grape seed extract had 30 to 50 percent less clumping of amyloid-beta protein in their brains.  Amyloid-beta protein clumping is a key step in the formation of the plaques and tangles within the brain seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

They also found that the mice treated with the extract performed significantly better on a standard test of spatial learning memory than those that didn’t receive it.  However, the extract did not improve performance in control mice, which suggests that it improved cognitive function in the Alzheimer’s prone rodents by reducing brain damage due to plaque formation.

It has been shown before that wine may have health benefits; however, the researchers wanted to investigate whether an extract of red grape seeds may prevent the progress of the disease.  I have posted before about the potentialhealth benefits of red wineand aboutresveratrol, which is one compound found in red wine that is believed to have several health benefits.  However, it is interesting to find that the benefits may potentially be achieved without the alcohol.

Reference: MedLine Plus

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