Natural products against neurodegenerative disease progression
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1st Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Basic and Translational Research Unit, Special Unit for Biomedical Research and Education, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Laboratory of Hygiene, Social & Preventive Medicine and Medical Statistics, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Greek Alzheimer Association and Related Disorders, Thessaloniki, Greece
Publication date: 2022-05-27
Public Health Toxicol 2022;2(Supplement Supplement 1):A21
Dementia is a rising health problem that affects more than 50 million people worldwide. Current pharmacological options are unable to effectively treat dementia and can cause adverse effects. Secondary prevention of dementia has targeted pre-dementia stages such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Natural Products have been suggested for the prevention of dementia and have shown promising results. We present key randomized clinical trials (RCT) of interventions with Natural Products in MCI and their neuroprotective properties. Pomegranate juice and its effects on memory and cognition has been studied in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled RCT with 200 participants aged 50-75 years with age related normal cognitive performance or MCI. The results showed statistically significant decline of visual memory in the placebo group whereas the intervention group maintained their cognitive abilities1. Ellagic acid can be found in various vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity. Its neurocognitive properties have been studied in a double-blinded RCT with 150 male participants aged 45-55 years having normal weight or being overweight. Cognitive performance improved statistically significant in overweight participants consuming ellagic acid but no difference was observed in normal weight participants2. Rosemary is known for its use in folk medicine. There are two clinical studies with promising results3,4. Extra virgin olive oil was used in clinical trials for healthy elderly but also for patients with MCI with very good results in cognition5. Turmeric, baicalein, huperzine A, resveratrol, rifampicin, berberine, betaine, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, catechin, caffeine, docosahexaenoic acid, cinnamon, luteolin, bryostatin-1, ginger, genipin and saffron are used in clinical trials with different results. Perhaps Hippocrates saying that “our food is our medicine, and our medicine is our food” was right after all.
Siddarth P, Li Z, Miller KJ, et al. Randomized placebo-controlled study of the memory effects of pomegranate juice in middle-aged and older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020;111(1):170-177. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz241
Liu Y, Yu S, Wang F, et al. Chronic administration of ellagic acid improved the cognition in middle-aged overweight men. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2018;43(3):266-273. doi:10.1139/apnm-2017-0583
Pengelly A, Snow J, Mills SY, Scholey A, Wesnes K, Butler LR. Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population. J Med Food. 2012;15(1):10-17. doi:10.1089/jmf.2011.0005
Perry NSL, Menzies R, Hodgson F, et al. A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial of a combined extract of sage, rosemary and melissa, traditional herbal medicines, on the enhancement of memory in normal healthy subjects, including influence of age. Phytomedicine. 2018;39:42-48. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2017.08.015
Tsolaki M, Lazarou E, Kozori M, et al. A Randomized Clinical Trial of Greek High Phenolic Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Mild Cognitive Impairment: The MICOIL Pilot Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;78(2):801-817. doi:10.3233/JAD-200405
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