Alzheimer's Advice

Alzheimer’s Advice

Here’s some sage advice about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from King’s College London.

At a UK conference, King’s College researchers presented the results of a study of broccoli, potatoes, oranges, apples and radishes. According to the KC team, these fruits and vegetables act as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

And why would you want to inhibit acetylcholinesterase? Because when acetylcholinesterase is inhibited, Alzheimer’s symptoms may be lessened.

In the e-Alert “Riders of the Purple Sage” (9/29/05), I told you about research in which sage was used to inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and alleviate some of the symptoms of AD. AChE breaks down a neurotransmitter chemical called acetylcholine that is typically deficient in Alzheimer’s patients. Inhibit AChE, increase acetylcholine, and some AD patients improve.

Of the five foods tested by the KC researchers, broccoli proved to be the best AChE inhibitor, so the researchers went back to work, trying to discover exactly what it is about broccoli that does the trick. Their investigation found that a group of compounds called glucosinolates apparently help put the breaks on AChE.

Glucosinolates are common throughout the cabbage family, so cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale may produce the same benefit. And as an added bonus, these foods are also rich in indoles, which are phytochemicals that have been shown to help inhibit the growth of breast, colon and stomach cancers.