Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease without known cure, clinical manifestations of AD are severe impairments in thought, memory, learning and language abilities. In recent times, researchers have identified multiple factors in the pathogenesis (origin) of AD, of particular note, oxidative stress. As previously mentioned, increases in oxidative stress can compromise how proteins in the body behaviour. Certain proteins (e.g. beta-amyloid), specific to Alzheimer's, if oxidised, can behaviour in ways that challenge thought, memory, learning and language. For this reason, scientists have looked at possible strategies to combat increases in oxidative stress.
Several studies have shown that individuals diagnosed with AD present with decreased levels of plasma (blood) antioxidants and total plasma antioxidant activity (basically, is the antioxidant producing a positive outcome in the body to reduce the likelihood of damaged or compromised cells). Antioxidants, in theory, are capable of combating oxidative stress and reducing its impact on the body. This being so, is it possible to utilise antioxidants to effect a change in individuals diagnosed with AD?
1. Antioxidant (Polyphenolic) Compounds in Green Tea:
Green Tea is particularly rich in flavonoids, including catechins. Catechins in green tea have been found to restore the activity of the mitochondria in specific regions of the brain (hippo-campus, cortex and striatum). As you may be aware, mitochondrial damage increases oxidative stress. At this point in time, the catechins in green tea have been shown to possibly protect against beta-amyloid mediated cognitive impairment.
2. Antioxidant Compounds in Magnolia:
Magnolia extract includes several antioxidant compounds, of particular note, flavonoids. Research has found that the active component of Magnolia, Magnolol, administered orally at dosage of 1-2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, may prevent age-related learning and memory impairment.
3. Antioxidant Compounds in Blueberries:
Blueberries contain a number of antioxidant compounds, including catechins and flavonoids. Research has shown that blueberries share both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. According two studies, blueberry extract may be capable of activating pathways in the brain responsible for cognitive function, learning and memory.
There is abundant evidence implicating oxidative stress in AD, however, further research is required specific to the potential role that antioxidants play in AD.