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Hope For Alzheimer’s Research From A Pomegranate Compound

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In previous animal studies, pomegranate extract has been shown to protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. But U.S. scientists wanted to know which specific compounds to thank for the beneficial effect. To fight the formation of Alzheimer’s brain plaque, the helpful compound would need to be able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from harmful substances. Although their findings are a long way from being clinically useful, the researchers determined that, out of 21 extract compounds, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective urolithins were able to cross the barrier. Urolithins, formed when a type of polyphenol is metabolized by gut bacteria, reduced plaque formation in lab tests and increased the lifespan of an Alzheimer's roundworm model.
Tao Yuan et al., "Pomegranate’s Neuroprotective Effects against Alzheimer’s Disease Are Mediated by Urolithins, Its Ellagitannin-Gut Microbial Derived Metabolites. ", ACS Chemical Neuroscience, January 08, 2016, © American Chemical Society
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