If you were trying to defend a city from attack, one of the first steps you might take would be to secure the perimeter. After all, if your enemies can just waltz right in, you're pretty vulnerable. Unfortunately, that's often the case for the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Some invaders just waltz right in and cause problems.
The disease occurs in part because abnormal proteins like Abeta40 and Abeta42 destroy neurons and lead to inflammation. Immune cells trigger much of this inflammation. They think they're helping, but they're actually making the problem worse. And some of these inflammation-causing immune cells enter the brain through a leaky blood-brain barrier.
This inflammation is so severe that it can actually cause the brain to swell. And the immune cells tend to get overeager and can kill off neurons too. It's actually far better for the brain to keep them out. Fortunately, according to research recently presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, there might be a way to do that.
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This effective perimeter guard is resveratrol. It stops unneeded immune cells at the border and keeps them from entering the brain. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center discovered this by giving 38 patients with confirmed Alzheimer's disease either a placebo or pharmaceutical-grade resveratrol every day for a year. They found that those who received the resveratrol had a 50% decrease in their matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) levels in their cerebrospinal fluid. MMP-9 contributes to a breakdown in the blood-brain barrier, leaving the brain vulnerable to inflammation.
Even better, the resveratrol also seemed to promote a more beneficial immune response within the brain, one that actually helped mop up the neurotoxic proteins. Moreover, the study helped to clear up previous findings that rather confusingly suggested that giving resveratrol to Alzheimer's patients caused their brains to shrink. The researchers now believe that this shrinkage isn't the brain itself getting smaller, but a decrease in the extreme swelling the inflammation can cause.
While resveratrol itself won't cure Alzheimer's, its role in guarding the brain's border is important. You'll find resveratrol in berries, dark chocolate, grapes, and red wine. However, dietary resveratrol alone likely won't be enough to protect your brain. In fact, to get the amount that was used in the study, you'd need to drink a thousand bottles of wine — every single day. So if you truly want to protect your brain, you need to get a concentrated dose of resveratrol in supplement form. I recommend Advanced Polyphenol Formula. You'll get 100 mg of resveratrol plus a host of other nutrients that will help you fight inflammation in not only your brain, but your entire body as well.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD