Fast Forwarded Aging

Protect brain from environmental shock and Alzheimer’s

Fast Forward aging main

Fast Forward aging main

Roughly 5 million Americans aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease, the most serious and common form of dementia, according to the National Institutes of Health. While the way it develops is still under investigation, current research suggests inflammation and free radicals are major factors, along with brain atrophy (shrinkage) and mitochondrial dysfunction, which causes energy cells to die out. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to prevent this incurable disease.

A few meds seem to have modest effects in delaying or turning around the disease’s progression, lowering the suffering and medical costs of millions of people. But we all know that prevention is even better.

Fast Forwarded Aging

The cloves of Allium sativum (garlic) are substantial sources of sulfur-based antioxidants that have shown past evidence of protecting against cardiovascular disease and accumulation of soft arterial plaque that causes heart attacks; high blood pressure; colon cancer; chemical toxicity; and bolstering weakened immunity. Now, scientists report in the journal PLOS One that the sulfur antioxidant called FruArg, found in garlic, is a brain protector. A form of the super food, Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is a rich source of this carbohydrate derivative.

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The University of Missouri team looked at how FruArg affects brain cells and whether it could protect the brain from excitotoxins and other poisons that stimulate it into a sort of fast forwarded aging process, like a speeded up film, that lasts microseconds but keeps occurring and lasts and degrades for a lifetime. Excitotoxins and other chemical poisons they studied are found in food ingredients and contaminants, pollution, alcohol, tobacco and other sources.

Body's First Line of Defense

“Microglia are immune cells in the brain and spinal cord that are the first and main line of defense in the central nervous system,” says Zezong Gu, an associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the UM School of Medicine. “Unlike other mature brain cells that seldom regenerate themselves, microglial cells respond to inflammation and environmental stresses by multiplying. By massing themselves and migrating toward an injury site, they are able to respond to inflammation and protect other brain cells from destruction.”

On the other hand, the byproduct of their heroic actions can also lead to overproduction of a chemical usually good for the body at the right amount but that in this case is overexpressed, nitric oxide, which performs here as a free radical, causing oxidative stress and inflammation within the brain and nervous system.

Test Tube Evidence

In this case, the evidence that FruArg has specific protective effects comes from a test tube study in which stressed microglia cells were either exposed or not given FruArg. The microglial cells “adapted to the stress by reducing the amount of nitric oxide they produced.” FruArg also bolstered antioxidant activity and restored damaged brain cells. “This helps us understand how garlic benefits the brain by making it more resilient to the stress and inflammation associated with neurological diseases and aging,” said the researchers. A form of the herb called Age Garlic Extract is available without the offensive aroma, contains antioxidants, the FruArg brain cell protector and can be taken daily.

Zhou H, Qu Z, Mossine VV, Nknolise DL, Li J, Chen Z, Cheng J, Greenlief CM, Mawhinney TP, Brown PN, Fritsche KL, Hannink M, Lubahn DB, Sun GY, Gu Z. Proteomic analysis of the effects of aged garlic extract and its FruArg component on lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammatory response in microglial cells. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 24;9(11):e113531. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113531. eCollection 2014.
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