Natural substance in fruits shows promise against Alzheimer’s disease

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In an exciting development, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have identified a natural substance found in pomegranates, strawberries, and walnuts that could potentially improve memory and assist in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, detailed in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, was conducted using mouse models and provides a hopeful outlook for addressing one of the most challenging neurodegenerative disorders.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by symptoms such as forgetfulness, difficulty in finding words, and confusion about time and place.

The research team, led by Vilhelm Bohr, an Affiliate Professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, discovered that urolithin A, a compound naturally present in certain fruits, can alleviate these cognitive impairments.

Urolithin A’s potential benefits are linked to its impact on mitochondrial function in the brain.

Bohr, who has extensive experience in aging research from his time as Department Chair at the US National Institute on Aging, explains that many neurodegenerative diseases are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

This dysfunction, also known as mitophagy, involves the brain’s diminished capability to clear out weakened mitochondria, leading to their accumulation and a subsequent impact on brain function.

Previous studies led by Bohr’s team have highlighted the role of a molecule called nicotinamide riboside (NAD supplement), which facilitates the removal of damaged mitochondria.

Remarkably, urolithin A appears to support this process just as effectively, suggesting it could be a powerful ally in fighting neurodegenerative diseases.

However, the effective dosage of urolithin A for treating or preventing Alzheimer’s remains undetermined.

Bohr mentioned, “We still cannot say anything conclusive about the dosage, but it is likely more than a pomegranate a day.” Fortunately, urolithin A is already available in pill form, and research efforts are ongoing to establish the optimal dosage.

Bohr is optimistic about the preventive potential of urolithin A, especially given its natural origin, which may lead to fewer side effects. This aspect is crucial as the substance is not only being considered for its therapeutic effects but also for its preventive capabilities.

He noted that while NAD supplementation has shown to be safe without serious side effects, the safety profile of urolithin A is still being evaluated through clinical trials, including those focusing on muscular diseases.

The research team is enthusiastic about the possibility of using urolithin A as a dietary supplement to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the future, provided that it remains free of significant side effects.

This discovery could mark a significant step forward in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases, offering hope that natural substances like urolithin A could someday play a crucial role in managing and potentially preventing conditions like Alzheimer’s.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and Coconut oil could help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

The research findings can be found in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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