The COVID-19 virus has dominated global attention since it was first identified, but now researchers have discovered a disturbing connection between the disease it causes and Alzheimer’s, a debilitating neurological condition.
The virus is believed to interfere with a critical body regulation mechanism, the Renin-angiotensin system (RAS), sparking a chain of events that can lead to the rapid onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
Overloading the RAS
The RAS is a hormone system responsible for many processes, including blood pressure control, fluid balance, and inflammation response.
The system is found in every cell across all tissues and organs in the body, underscoring its importance to our overall health.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus appears to cause an overproduction of the hormone angiotensin-2, which overstimulates a receptor in the RAS, known as AT1R.
Overactive AT1R receptors have multiple harmful effects, including promoting blood vessel constriction, pro-inflammatory responses, the production of cell-killing reactive oxygen particles, clot formation, and reducing oxygen supply to cells.
COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s Connection
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia marked by severe memory loss, difficulty thinking, and behavior changes.
The disease typically develops gradually, but in cases of COVID-19 and “long COVID,” the progression might be unusually fast.
In a concerning trend, clinicians have observed the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms in patients, including young adults, following infection with SARS-CoV-2 or post-COVID-19 vaccination.
These incidents appear linked to RAS dysfunction, triggered by excess angiotensin-2 and overstimulation of the AT1R receptor.
One effect of an overactive AT1R receptor is an increase in blood pressure, a significant risk factor for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, excess angiotensin-2 seems to encourage the build-up of beta-amyloid proteins, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, leading to impaired cognitive function.
A Vicious Cycle
Another consequence of RAS dysfunction is a vasoconstrictive effect, leading to reduced blood flow to the brain. T
his can cause neurovascular uncoupling, lower brain metabolism, and further neurological damage, creating a vicious cycle that promotes the development and progression of Alzheimer’s.
The connection between COVID-19, RAS dysfunction, and Alzheimer’s emphasizes the importance of understanding and controlling the virus and the need for further research into the RAS.
Ultimately, it raises questions about the long-term neurological impacts of the pandemic, which are yet to be fully understood.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.
The study was published in Infectious Disorders – Drug Targets.
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