Can Apples Keep Alzheimer's Away?

Some of the mind-healthy foods we have reported on include blueberries, salmon, and by some accounts - coffee. According to researchers, two apples a day, or a glass of apple juice, could keep Alzheimer's at bay by boosting levels of a neurotransmitter, according to results from an animal study.

"We anticipate that the day may come when foods like apples, apple juice and other apple products are recommended along with the most popular Alzheimers medications," said the leader of the study, Professor Thomas Shea, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML).

Although the mechanism of Alzheimer's is not entirely clear, evidence is gathering in support of the build-up of plaque from amyloid deposits. The deposits are associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress.

The UML team previously showed the benefits of feeding apple juice in mice bred to be prone to Alzheimer's disease, as well as benefiting naturally aged mice – an effect attributed to the antioxidant content of apples and apple juice (Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Dec. 2005, Vol. 8, pp. 283-287).

The results from the new study however appear to show that the benefits may not be exclusively related to the antioxidant properties of the fruit since the data indicate that apple juice consumption could increase the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, resulting in improved memory. Neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine are chemicals released from nerve cells.


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