Pomegranates Treat Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms
A compound found in the skins and fruit of pomegranates could offer Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease researchers a new avenue for quieting the debilitating illnesses, a new study from the University of Huddersfield suggests.
Data from Alzheimer’s Disease International estimates worldwide cases of dementia will triple by 2050 — a collection of illnesses widely regarded as a premier health concern of the 21st century, due to its destructive capabilities and lack of treatment options. Now scientists are showing the compound punicalagin, a polyphenol found in pomegranates, could inhibit inflammation in brain cells known as microglia.
Dr. Olumayokun Olajide, a University researcher interested in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products, led the research. He and his team ran tests of punicalagin on the cultured brain cells of rats. They looked at the interplay between the compound and any traces of inflammation found in the microglia. Parkinson’s disease, and to a lesser extent Alzheimer’s, relies on compounding inflammatory damage to destroy cells in a cascade.
The proof-of-concept study found punicalagin did, indeed, reduce levels. But the optimal dosage demands further research before work can begin on humans. In the meantime, Olajide says, pomegranate juice could act as an effective stand-in.
“We do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits,” he said, “including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia.” Consumers should be careful to buy products that are 100 percent pomegranate juice, as prior research has discovered the unsettling truth that not all juices are what they seem. In 100-percent concentrations, roughly 3.4 percent will be the key compound.
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