Red Wine & Green Tea?


I am normally a skeptic when it comes to claims about this food or that drink being the cure for everything from lumbago to obesity.  I probably will always remain a skeptic.  However, whenever someone says red wine is good for X, I am perfectly willing to listen.  In fact, I have been known to say, “I will drink (a good Malbec) to that!”

Red Wine and Alzheimer's

So, when the University of Leeds published a study that chemicals found in green tea (EGCG – Epigallocatechin gallate) and red wine (resveratrol) may be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s, I pay attention.  As reported in Science Daily,

In early-stage laboratory experiments, the researchers identified the process which allows harmful clumps of protein to latch on to brain cells, causing them to die. They were able to interrupt this pathway using the purified extracts of EGCG from green tea and resveratrol from red wine.

As Science Daily points out,

Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by a distinct build-up of amyloid protein in the brain, which clumps together to form toxic, sticky balls of varying shapes. These amyloid balls latch on to the surface of nerve cells in the brain by attaching to proteins on the cell surface called prions, causing the nerve cells to malfunction and eventually die.

Part of the problem is that once the process begins, it is self-perpetuating, as a snowball rolling downhill gathers more snow along the way.  The key is to interrupt the formation of the amyloid balls.  This is the benefit they discovered with EGCG and resveratrol:

When we added the extracts from red wine and green tea, [said one of the researchers] …, the amyloid balls no longer harmed the nerve cells. We saw that this was because their shape was distorted, so they could no longer bind to prion and disrupt cell function.

As always, there are the normal caveats that come with studies — it is early, etc. — but at Support For Home Health Care our fingers are crossed – and my glass is raised!

Best wishes.  Bert

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