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St. John's wort extract may prevent Alzheimer's disease

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BY Jimmy Downs

Sunday May 26, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Doctors say there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.  But a ew study in the May 24, 2013 issue of Brain Pathology suggests that St. John's Wort extract may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.

The study led by A. Brenn and colleagues from Institute of Pathology, University of Greifswald, Germany shows that St. John's Wort reduces accumulation of beta-amyloid deposit, which is known as the cause for Alzheimer's disease, in a rodents' model.

The researchers report that the existence of the ATP-binding cassette transport protein P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) is important in prevent Alzheimer's disease because it helps the export of beta-amyloid from the brain into the blood and prevents the deposits of beta-amyloid.

The researchers say that "there is evidence that age-associated deficits in cerebral P-glycoprotein content may be involved in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis." suggesting that any compound that can induce the expression of P-glycoprotein may help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

In the study, Sr. John's wort extract with the concentration of hyperforin at 5% was fed to  30 day-old male C57BL/6J-APP/PS1+/-  mice for 60 or 120 days, respectively. Age-matched mice were fed a diet without Sr. John's wort extract supplemented.

The researchers observed that "Mice receiving St. John's Wort extract showed (i) significant reductions of parenchymal beta-amyloid 1-40 and 1-42 accumulation, and (ii) moderate but statistically significant increases in cerebrovascular P-glycoprotein expression."

They concluded" the induction of cerebrovascular P-glycoprotein may be a novel therapeutic strategy to protect the brain from beta-amyloid accumulation, and thereby impede the progression of Alzheimer's disease."

Alzheimer's disease is estimated to affect five millions of Americans. THe disease affects people aged 65 or older and can completely disable the patients leading to death.

Photo credit: wikipedia

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