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Alzheimer’s currently affects over 413,000 Australians (& over 800,000 people in the UK & over 5 million Americans), and is reaching epidemic proportions with these numbers expected to rise by over 123,000 by 2025. With no cure in sight, researchers are focusing their efforts on prevention methods. A new study from the United Kingdom is exploring a compound in the pomegranate fruit that may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

For over four years, researchers have looked at pomegranate as a possible superfood that can delay the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “Punicalagin” – which is a form of chemical compound known as a polyphenol – found in pomegranate fruit, can inhibit inflammation in specialised brain cells known as micrologia. Inflammation in microglia leads to destruction of other brain cells which can make symptoms worse for people with alzheimer’s or dementia & has been shown to reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s. Now, researchers from the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom are exploring the possibilities of using punicalagin in drugs that may treat inflammation in the brain.

Lead researcher Dr. Olumayokun Olajide is hoping the newest study sheds more light on exactly how much of this compound is required to be an effective treatment. In a recent press conference he said:

“…We do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits – including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia.”

This inflammation leads to the destruction of more and more brain cells, making the condition of Alzheimer’s sufferers progressively worse.

There is still no cure for the disease, but the researchers are hoping the punicalagin in pomegranate could prevent it or slow down its development.

Dr Olajide is still working on the amounts of pomegranate that are required, in order to be effective in the form of a drug.

However, he pointed out that we should only consume juice products which are 100 per cent pomegranate concentrates, which contain approximately 3.4 per cent punicalagin.

Dr Olajide says most of the anti-oxidant compounds are found in the outer skin of the pomegranate, not in the soft part of the fruit.

The Middle Eastern fruit used for centuries as a folk medicine is claimed to be effective against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, including prostate cancer.





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