Alzheimer’s is an age-related brain disease and is the number one cause of dementia worldwide. Despite enormous efforts and countless published research, we still don’t have all the information we need to cure the disease. Alzheimer’s is a complex multifactorial disease. It is therefore no wonder that many studies have focused on the relationship between disease and the food we eat.
In previous articles we have dealt, for example, with how some spices can limit the neurotoxicity of Alzheimer’s or which vitamins to take to slow down or improve the disease. This time around we will look at a newly published important discovery that gives us an early indication of the disease (up to 5 years before the disease manifests itself). Many do not yet know that taking nutrients rich in these molecules could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Radicals and food
Free radicals can be defined as any chemical species (molecule or atom) that contains an unpaired electron. From the chemical point of view, this translates into a great instability and reactivity of the chemical species. Precisely by virtue of their reactivity, free radicals are able to interact, modify or damage the cell nucleus, membranes, proteins or DNA. Free radicals, as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS) or nitrogen, are formed in physiological or pathological states of the organism. To counteract the oxidative stress of free radicals, the action of antioxidants is necessary.
Antioxidants are molecules stable enough to donate an electron to a triggered free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its ability to damage. Some antioxidants, including glutathione, ubiquinol, and uric acid, are produced during normal metabolism in the body. Others can be introduced with the diet: cabbage, Mediterranean gold or strawberries, for example, are rich in them. In general, many foods and drinks included in the Mediterranean diet are important reservoirs of antioxidants. The main antioxidant micronutrients (vitamins) are vitamin E (α-tocopherol), vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and B-carotene.
Many do not yet know that taking nutrients rich in these molecules could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s
In a newly published study (Ben Khedher MR et al, 2021), the researchers found that oxidation-antioxidant imbalance may be an important early indicator of Alzheimer’s. Previously, however, it was thought that this imbalance was a consequence of the disease and as such had no prevention value.
Scientists have shown that several oxidative markers involved in Alzheimer’s disease show an increase, up to five years before the onset of the disease. These oxidative markers can be detected with a simple blood test. All this involves, on a practical level, the introduction of two fundamental innovations. The first is that we have an alarm bell that can warn us of the disease long before its manifestation. The second is that, in theory, it may be enough to take antioxidants through the diet or through supplements, to reduce oxidative stress and ward off disease.
Also in this case, caution on the results shown is a must: science advances in small steps, between confirmations and denials. We await further data in this regard to find out about any therapies based on this scientific evidence.