What do nutrients have to do with Alzheimer’s disease?
A lot, say researchers.
For one, a study at Duke University has found a possible link between Alzheimer’s and an important amino acid called arginine. The study found that in mice with Alzheimer’s, immune cells called microglia, which normally protect the brain, begin to abnormally consume arginine.
According to the BBC
, researchers stress that their findings “do not suggest that arginine supplements could combat dementia as the boosted levels would still be broken down.”
However, there may be another treatment, says The Guardian
. When researchers blocked the arginine consumption process “using the drug difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), memory loss and a buildup of sticky proteins known as brain plaques were prevented.”
Further research is necessary to figure out if targeting arginine metabolism in the brain can reduce the death of brain cells.
Another theory about a cause of Alzheimer’s has to do with sleep—and how sleep revives us by clearing our brains of nutrient waste. Check out this TedTalk with neuroscientist Jeff Iliff
What do you think about these theories? And how can we help people with dementia NOW, while scientists are still looking for treatments?