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Olive Oil compound targets Alzheimer's proteins

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Alzheimer's Disease

A naturally occurring compound in extra virgin olive oil has been found to limit the effect of toxic beta amyloid proteins that contribute to cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The substance, oleocanthal, restricts the ability of the toxic proteins to destroy brain cells. Oleocanthal is also a natural anti-inflammatory agent that works much the same as ibuprofen, shown in past studies, and could be developed to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Small proteins, known as ADDL’s, bind to receptors in the brain, known as synapses, and alter brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. Oleocanthal, found in olive oil, inhibits the ability of ADDL’s to attach to the synapses in the brain. The compound also makes ADDL’s more susceptible to antibodies.

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Paul A.S. Breslin, PhD, a sensory psychobiologist at the Monell Science Center says, "If antibody treatment of Alzheimer's is enhanced by oleocanthal, the collective anti-toxic and immunological effects of this compound may lead to a successful treatment for an incurable disease. Only clinical trials will tell for sure."

Dr. Breslin explains how ADDL binding in synapses is one of the most important first steps in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Synapses are needed to send information from specialized cells that relay information to the next. Without intact synapses brain cells die and memory loss occurs. The olive oil compound, oleocanthal could help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease if future studies support the current findings.

ADDL’s have been a focus in the study of Alzheimer’s disease. Ibuprofen has also been linked to lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, much like oleocanthal that also has anti-inflammatory properties. The new research shows that oleocanthal, found in extra virgin olive oil, impedes the ability of toxic amyloid beta- proteins to destroy brain cells that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Source: Monell Center