Juice can prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Cognitive decline and other behavioral factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented by consuming juice.
WHAT WE KNOW
Alzheimer’s patients have a characteristic plaque in the brain. Beta-amyloid peptides make up this plaque, know as an amyloid plaque. This plaque causes oxidative damage in the brain resulting in a decrease in cognitive function. Scientists are currently theorizing that polyphenols (a form of antioxidants) can protect against the oxidative stress caused by the beta-amyloid peptides and other oxidative stressors in the brain.
Antioxidants protect the body from cell damage that can lead to many diseases and disorders by scavenging free radicals. Several studies have been done over the years to determine if the antioxidant effects of fruits and vegetables (especially juice) can minimize the decrease in cognitive function that occurs with age and Alzheimer’s disease.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A study reported in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias supplemented 21 institutionalized individuals with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease with two 4-ounce glasses of apple juice daily for one month. The researchers found a 27% reduction in agitation, anxiety, and delusion. This study suggests that apple juice may be a useful supplement for reducing the decline in mood that accompanies progression of Alzheimer’s disease.¹
Another study reported in the Journal of Nutrition tested the hypothesis that cherry juice can improve the capacity of older adults to resist oxidative stress. The study concluded that consumption of cherry juice improves antioxidant defenses in older adults.² And a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found a nutritional link in prevention of age-related risk factors for neurordegeneration (decreased functioning of neurons in the brain) in adult mice after supplementing their drinking water with apple juice.³
Most of these current findings have been from very small studies on mice. Therefore more research on the effect on humans needs to be done before final conclusions can be made.
Currently there is no proven link that juice (or any one fruit or vegetable) is superior in preventing oxidative stress in the brain. What we do know is that fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that protect the body. The great thing is that antioxidants exist in all forms of fruits and vegetables! So drink, eat, and enjoy your fruits and vegetables however you like them. And remember, choose 100% juice!
There are so many reasons why fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy lifestyle. The antioxidant quality of fruits and vegetables is just one of the many ways fruits and vegetables are protective to your health. Consuming a diet that meets your recommended amount each day (along with adequate exercise) is one of the best ways to give your body a strong defense against diseases in the future.
¹ Remington, R., et al. “Apple Juice Improved Behavioral But Not Cognitive Symptoms in Moderate-to-Late Stage Alzheimer’s Disease in an Open-Label Pilot Study.” Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2010; 25(4): 367-71.
² Traustadóttir, T., et al. “Tart Cherry Juice Decreases Oxidative Stress in Healthy Older Men and Women.” J Nutr (2009); 139(10): 1896-900.
³ Chan, A. Shea, TB. “Dietary Supplementation with Apple Juice Decreases Endogenous Amyloid-Beta Levels in Murine Brain.” J Alzheimer Dis (2009); 16(1): 167-71.