Basil compound could be effective against Alzheimer’s disease

Sometimes the most common foods have surprising properties. This is the case with basil, which contains a molecule, fenchol, which acts on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by intervening in the intestine.

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With these 100 million neurons, our gut is considered our second brain. These neurons, but also the metabolites produced by bacteria of microbiota, communicate with the brain via the autonomic nervous system. Doctors are increasingly interested in the role of intestines and its microbiota in diseases that are expressed in the brain such as neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, or mental, such as depression.

The power of basil

The role of the microbiota is particularly studied in Alzheimer’s disease. American researchers have discovered the positive effect of molecule, abundant in the basil, on the symptoms Alzheimer’s recreated in animal model. The molecule, called fenchol, acts on a receptor carried by neurons in the intestine. Usually this receptor, FFAR2, is activated by Fatty acids short chain, produced by intestinal bacteria. However, people with Alzheimer’s disease may be deficient in short-chain fatty acids. To compensate for the loss of the beneficial effect of activating FFAR2 in patients, US researchers sifted through a library of 114,000 natural compounds, looking for the one that best activates FFAR2. The winner is therefore the fenchol, present in the basil, but also the grape or mustard.

Slow down the degeneration of neurons

In cell culture, fenchol prevents neurodegeneration linked to the accumulation of protein amyloid. In animal models, treatment with fenchol increases the duration life and reduces the proliferation of amyloid plaques in the body of toward Caenorhadbitis elegans. The mechanism behind the beneficial effect of fenchol is not fully understood, but it appears that the activation of the FFAR2 receptor by the latter stimulates the proteasome and lysosomal activity of neurons. The proteasome and lysosomes are two elements involved in the destruction of waste cellular. Overactivated, amyloid plaques would then be more easily destroyed in neurons, thus protecting them from destruction.

Eating an astronomical amount of basil, or grapes, to fill up on fenchol will not cure Alzheimer’s disease. This study, published in Frontiers in Aging Science, especially highlights how what happens in the microbiota could have a positive effect in the brain affected by Alzheimer’s.

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