Red grape juice may help fight Alzheimer's disease
By David Liu, PHD
Thursday Fed 22, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Journal of Isfahan Medical School in Iran suggests that eating red grapes or drinking red grape juice regularly can help fight Alzheimer's disease.
The study led by Zahra Siahmard and colleagues found rats with chemical-induced Alzheimer's disease after drinking 10% red grape juice for 21 days improved their memory and learning capability, compared to those that did not drink the juice.
Red grape juice contains resveratrol, a compound that has been found by some researchers to be protective against heart disease. But a leading researcher of University of Connecticut was found to have falsified research data to demonstrate resveratrol helps fight heart disease. So the hert healthy benefits of this compound are in doubt.
The researchers of the current study believed that antioxidants in red grape juice could protect against Alzheimer's because the disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.
For the study, the researchers induced Alzheimer's disease in male rats with an antibiotic called Streptozotocin. Then they compared rats receiving red grape juice with those receiving a placebo for their memory and learning ability.
Rats with Alzheimer's disease treated with red grape juice had better memory and learning capability, compared to the control group. Rats treated with streptozotocin had worse memory and learning, compared to those rats that did not receive the antibiotic.
Streptozotocin, which is currently used in the United States as a cancer treatment for malignancies that can't be removed by surgery, is highly toxic. In addition to its toxicity to the brain, in the laboratory studies, this antibiotic is also used to induce type 1 diabetes in animals.
The study suggests red grape juice may help people with Alzheimer's disease. But the study did not say what in the red grape juice is active in protecting against Alzheimer's disease.
Doctors do not know what causes Alzheimer's disease. An estimated 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease, which has no cure. The disease is lethal.