What if the secret to finding a cure to Alzheimer’s disease is locked into the make-up of dark chocolate, red wine, and berries?! A new study suggests that a compound occurring naturally in the food items – resveratrol – might help to impede the progress of the disease. The findings have been published in the journal Neurology.
Resveratrol occurs in red grapes and several berries, as well as in dark chocolate. It was used in the study in its purified form to test its effects on dementia patients. The researchers made a group of volunteers who were suffering from mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease consume the compound as supplements. When they were compared with the control group who did not take in resveratrol, it was found that the former had negligible or no change in the concentration of myloid-beta40 (Abeta40) in their blood and cerebrospinal fluid while the latter had decreased levels thereof as would be expected to happen as the disease exacerbates; the accumulation of amyloid proteins in the brain is considered to be a key cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
The results appear to be promising. The researchers have, however, not tagged resveratrol as a cure per say since they have not proved that it can actually stop the development of the disease in the brain.
“This is a single, small study with findings that call for further research to interpret properly,” said lead author R. Scott Turner in a statement. “A decrease in Abeta40 is seen as dementia worsens and Alzheimer’s disease progresses; still, we can’t conclude from this study that the effects of resveratrol treatment are beneficial.”
Furthermore, it is to be noted that the alleged beneficial effects of resveratrol supplements will not be reproduced by consuming dark chocolate or red wine in spite of the fact that both contain the compound. Moreover, the researchers write that the dosage used in the experiment is equivalent to what is found in 1,000 bottles of wine.
Instead, more research needs to be done.
“Given safety and positive trends toward effectiveness in this phase 2 study, a larger phase 3 study is warranted to test whether resveratrol is effective for individuals with Alzheimer’s — or at risk for Alzheimer’s,” Turner said.
Resveratrol has also been the subject of other studies in the past. It was previously suggested that it might provide protection from cancer and ageing. On the other hand, researchers have also added that the results are not conclusive.