Alzheimer’s Risk And Polyphenols

Alzheimer’s Risk And Polyphenols

A clinical trial that showed that vitamin E slowed the progress of some consequences of Alzheimer’s disease by about 7 months has been discounted by recent studies.

Another clinical trial is examining whether vitamin E and/or selenium supplements can prevent Alzheimer’s disease or the cognitive decline associated with the disease. current research and clinical observations involving other antioxidants are being planned.

Some studies that claimed hormone substitute therapy, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and antioxidant vitamins as promising treatments in preventing or slowing Alzheimer’s disease indicate that they do not.

Qi Dai, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant professor of Medicine, conducts current research on causative and preventative measures for Alzheimer’s Disease. The research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dai and his research team began to speculate that perhaps another class of antioxidant chemicals, known as polyphenols, could play a role in preventing or slowing down of Alzheimer’s disease.

Polyphenols are non-vitamin antioxidants shared in the diet and particularly abundant in teas, juices and wines. Polyphenols exist chiefly in the skins and peels of fruits and vegetables. Recent studies have shown that they extend maximum lifespan by 59 percent and delay age-dependent decay of cognitive performance in animal models.

Food supplies high in polyphenols include onion, apple, tea, red wine, red grapes, grape juice, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and certain nuts.

“Also, animal studies and cell culture studies confirmed that some polyphenols from juices showed a stronger neuroprotective effect than antioxidant vitamins. So we are now looking at polyphenols,” Dai said.

At the 2nd International Conference on Polyphenols and Health held at the University of California campus in Davis October 4-7, 2005, the health effects of Polyphenols was discussed by a general range of researchers and scientists. There were global representatives that attended to hear the scientific presentations and discussions on the health effects of polyphenolics.

Some of the findings concluded that there are clear effects of polyphenols on established surrogate markers of cardiovascular diseases. Also the discussions centered on the biological effects involved in the protective effects of polyphenols against cardiovascular diseases, on different body tissues, i.e., blood vessels, heart muscles, etc.

There was a clear consensus that antioxidant activity is not directly related to any health effects, but is simply a biomarker for the presence of polyphenolics, a marker that can be confounded by constitutive antioxidants.

The advantageous effects of phenolics now appears to be its effects on cell signaling and several speakers made this point at the conference. Researchers called for a clear, clinical demonstration of a human health assistance from polyphenolics.

Researches are conducting more clinical trials to check blood polyphenol levels to see if high polyphenols correlate with low Alzheimer’s risk.

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