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Soy Compound Combats Degenerative Brain Disorders

Posted Jun 29 2013 10:08pm

Phosphatidylserine is a natural compound found abundantly in soy, beef, and oysters. Some previously published studies suggest a role in improving cognition and slowing memory loss.il Ast, from Tel Aviv University (Israel), and colleagues report that phosphatidylserine may improve the functioning of genes involved in degenerative brain disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Familial Dysautonomia (FD).  The researchers applied phosphatidylserine to cells collected from FD patients. Noticing a robust effect on the gene, including a jump in the production of healthy IKAP proteins, they then tested the same supplement on mouse models of FD, engineered with the same genetic mutation that causes the disease in humans.  The mice received the supplement orally, every two days for a period of three months. Researchers then conducted extensive genetic testing, finding a significant increase of the protein in all the tissues of the body – notably, an eight-fold increase in the liver and 1.5-fold increase in the brain. Observing that:  “genes associated with transcription regulation and developmental processes were up-regulated in the cerebrum of [phosphatidylserine]-treated mice,” the study authors submit that: "[Phosphatidylserine] holds promise for the treatment of [Familial Dysautonomia].

Bochner R, Ziv Y, Zeevi D, Donyo M, Abraham L, Ashery-Padan R, Ast G. “Phosphatidylserine increases IKBKAP levels in a humanized knock-in IKBKAP mouse model.”  Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Mar 29. 

  
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Tip #182 - Think Zinc
Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) researchers investigated the intake of zinc in relation to risk of type-2 diabetes in American women. The team assessed data collected on participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, comprised of 82,297 women, ages 33 to 60 years at the study’s start. The researchers found that those women with the highest average daily intake of zinc were 10% less likely to develop type-2 diabetes. Further, those women with the highest average total intakes slashed their risk by 8%. Perhaps most importantly, the researchers showed that an increased intake of zinc was associated with a 28% reduction in type-2 diabetes.

Zinc is a plentiful trace element in the body, and it mediates many physiological functions. The US guidelines recommend that women ages 19-50 years consume 8 mg of zinc daily; men ages 19-50 years, 11 mg. Shiitake and crimini mushrooms, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are foods rich in zinc.
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