Alzheimer’s Prevention, Straight From the Pantry
What if you could help ward off the debilitating -and currently without cure- chronic condition of Alzheimer's disease? What if one of the keys to doing so was a common spice that you probably already have in your pantry?
That's what new research suggests may be possible. According the preliminar research published in the journal PLoS One, a component found in cinnamon bark contains properties that can inhibit some of the pathology of Alzheimer's disease.
The number of Americans struggling with Alzheimer's disease will only continue to increase as the proportion of the U.S. population that is over age 65 rises. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia in the elderly; currently, one in eight Americans age 65 and older suffers from Alzheimer's. The number affected by caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease is much, much higher. This devastating affliction disrupts memory, thought and behavior.
As more of the baby boomers move up into this higher age category, the numbers are set to multiply. It has never been more important to be proactive about prevention of the disease, early diagnosis, and the fight against disease progression.
While much remains unknown about exactly how to accomplish these goals on a global scale, we know now that there is much we can do. Not only medical interventions, which are available, but lifestyle choices that are squarely within our own control. This includes factors such as good social support networks, exercise and even diet.
This new research points to specific components of diet that may be worth investigating - even for a potential cure. The component the researchers found in cinnamon bark is known as CEppt. The researchers initially discovered that cinnamon extract had antiviral effects. They then tested it in laboratory and animal Alzheimer's models. In the animal studies, they saw slowing of the disease after four months, with inhibition of the amyloid plaque formation seen in brains of Alzheimer's patients.
In the test-tube research, the substance was also found to break up amyloid fibers.
But before you rush to dose up your cinnamon, beware, says the lead researcher. The levels to achieve their results would be too high for safe consumption. What's more: this preliminary research was conducted in the lab and in animals; this does not always translate to humans. So the search for a cure continues.
Still, a little dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee sure wouldn't hurt!
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