New treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases may be developed from an unusual source — pomegranates. A natural compound, punicalagin, found in the fruit may curb some of the symptoms associated with the neurodegenerative conditions.
Olumayokun Olajide, PhD, a senior lecturer in the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom, specializes in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural foods. Pomegranates are already considered a so-called “super food” given the fruit’s anti-oxidant properties.
Olajide and his colleagues found during a two-year project using brain cells from mice that punicalagin inhibits inflammation in a certain type of brain cells called microglia. The inflammation leads to the death of more brain cells, similar to the process that causes worsening of Alzheimer's in humans, they reported in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
“We do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits — including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia,” Olajide told medicalxpress.com.
The research showed that punicalagin completely eliminated tumor necrosis factor alpha, a protein found in cells that leads to inflammation and stopped gene expression of IL-6, another protein secreted by cells that has been shown to lead to neurological disease in hippocampal slices.
More work still needs to be done to figure out the amount of punicalagin necessary to effectively treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, according to the National Institute on Aging. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first…
The onset of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by a natural compound that is found in pomegranate.
Also, the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease could be reduced, according to the findings of a two-year project headed by University of Huddersfield scientist Dr. Olumayokun Olajide, who specializes in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products.