Maple syrup triggers hope for patients with Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists are optimistic. Pure maple syrup has been proven to protect brain cells by preventing damage caused in Alzheimer’s disease. They reached to this conclusion after compiling results from 24 studies aimed at examining the benefits of this prized syrup.   At the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, maple syrup was thus listed as a “healthful and functional food” to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that impairs memory as well as other mental functions. The first symptoms are slight confusion and difficulty to remember. As the disease progresses, the patient may even get lost in familiar places, and have problems with speech and language. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, as brain cells degenerate and die. Elderly people are mostly affected, and women are more concerned than men. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease even if medications may manage and show improvement in symptoms. It is a life-limiting disease, entailing neurological complications. In the United States, every 67 seconds witnesses a new patient suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The mechanism initiated by maple syrup

Dr Donald Weaver from the Krembil Research Institute of the University of Toronto established that maple syrup works on two types of proteins present in brain cells: the beta amyloid protein and the tau peptide protein. Maple syrup prevents misfolding and clumping of these proteins which result in the formation of plaque- a root cause for Alzheimer’s as well as other brain diseases.

Another research conducted by Dr Navindra Seeram with the University of Rhode Island and Texas State University concluded that pure maple syrup prevented the fibrillation (tangling up) of beta amyloid proteins. As such, the patient’s lifespan may be prolonged and the brain may continue to function properly. At the same time, it showed neuroprotective effects (similar to resveratrol found in red wine) in microglial brain cells when tested on rodents. In fact, a dysfunction of microglial brain cells is directly related to Alzheimer’s.  

Solidarity between producers

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup and 7,300 Quebec maple enterprises have joined forces to invest in scientific research in view of shedding more light on the benefits of maple syrup. Thorough research since 2005 has indeed proven that the pure natural syrup consists of more than 100 bioactive compounds. Some are unique to the syrup; others are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  

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