News for Durham: Can Maple Syrup Protect the Brain from Alzheimer’s?

May 4, 2016

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that gets worse over time and causes difficulty with language, concentrating, planning, organizing and memory loss. Although there are no current treatments preventing the disease from spreading, they can temporarily slow the symptoms to improve quality of life. Researchers are studying the diet to prevent and delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and think they may be an effective and inexpensive solution to help with memory loss.

One recent study found that maple syrup that comes from the sap of a maple tree may help prevent two types of proteins, beta amyloid and tau peptide, from clumping together. Both of these of proteins form plaque in the brain which is the root cause for Alzheimer’s. When the proteins clump and tangle together they prevent cell to cell signaling, making it difficult for the brain regions to communicate. Maple syrup was found to prevent tangling of the beta amyloid protein in the brain so that it functioned properly.

Researchers have found that maple syrup has more than 100 bioactive compounds some with anti-inflammatory properties. Maple syrup also has phenol concentrations which have antioxidant effects enabling them to capture free radicals before they cause serious damage to cells. Natural foods like green tea, red wine, berries and pomegranates offer many potential benefits to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Maple syrup was found to have neuroprotective properties similar to resveratrol, a compound found in red wine.



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