Grape Seeds May Reduce Alzheimer's

Photo: Red Wine

Natural compounds might provide
real health benefits to brain function;
© SXC

Researchers found that the grape seed extract prevents amyloid beta accumulation in cells, suggesting that it may block the formation of plaques. In Alzheimer's disease, amyloid beta accumulates to form toxic plaques that disrupt normal brain function.

The researchers tested a grape seed polyphenolic extract. Polyphenolic compounds are antioxidants naturally found in wine, tea, chocolate, and some fruits and vegetables.

To determine whether the extract could mitigate the effects of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers used mice genetically modified to develop a condition similar to Alzheimer's disease. They exposed pre-symptomatic "Alzheimer's mice" to the extract or placebo daily for five months. The daily dose of the polyphenolic extract was equivalent to the average amount of polyphenolics consumed by a person on a daily basis.

After the five-month period, Alzheimer's mice were at an age at which they normally develop signs of disease. However, the extract exposure reduced amyloid beta accumulation and plaque formation in brains of Alzheimer's mice and also reduced cognitive decline: compared to placebo, extract-exposed Alzheimer's mice showed improved spatial memory. These data suggest that before symptoms begin, the grape seed extract may prevent or postpone plaque formation and slow cognitive deterioration associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Chemical analysis showed that the major polyphenol components in the study's grape seed extract product are catechin and epicatechin, which are also abundant in tea and cocoa. The intent of the researchers is to develop a highly tolerable, nontoxic, orally available treatment for the prevention and treatment of Alzeheimer's dementia.

MEDICA.de; Source: Society for Neuroscience