Researchers at the University Of South Florida found a compound in beetroot that gives its distinctive bright pink colour may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This compound could slow the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain.
Globally 44 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders related to dementia. It usually impacts one in ten over the age of 65 years. Scientists are still trying to find out what causes these brain disorders.
Beta-amyloid is a protein fragment attaches itself to metals like iron and copper. This causes amyloid to clump together and kill neurons, disrupting communication between brain cells.
Betanin a compound in beet extract inhibits chemical reactions in the brain that are involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, “said Li-June Ming from the University of South Florida.
Previous studies have found that beetroot has the ability to increase oxygen flow to the brain and increase cognitive function. Ming and his team trying to find out if betanin really binds to metals and stop the beta-amyloid from killing neurons.
The team investigated when betanin was added to the copper bound beta-amyloid mixture, oxidation dropped by as much as 90 percent. Suggesting that misfolding of the peptides was potentially suppressed.
“We cannot say that betanin stops the misfolding completely, but it significantly reduces oxidation,” said Darrell Cole Cerrato.
Less oxidation could prevent misfolding to a certain degree, perhaps it slows the aggregation of beta-amyloid peptides, which is believed to be the ultimate cause of Alzheimer’s, explained by Darrell.
“This is our first step, but we hope that our findings will encourage other scientists to find similar structures to betanin that could make life a bit easier for those who suffer from this disease,” said Ming at the national meeting of American Chemical Society(ACS).
So stop it before it starts.