Consumption of oregano basil may slow cognitive decline, scientists from the University of South Florida reported in the Oct. 5 issue of Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
Life without memory: about 2 million elderly with Alzheimer's disease in Russia
Doctors spot only one in ten of such patients
They discovered the natural compound fenchol (Fenchol) in basil leaves, which may protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease. This effect is related to the mechanisms of its perception by the gut microbiome.
Professor Hariom Yadav, who led the study, observed interactions between the brain and gut on a molecular level to determine how it affects brain health and cognitive decline.
The scientists found that the FFAR2 receptor, a free fatty acid receptor 2, is activated by short-chain fatty acids from the gut. These acids play a key role in maintaining brain health, and in Alzheimer's disease their supply is depleted.
"Our study was the first to find that stimulation of the FFAR2 perception mechanism by these microbial metabolites may be useful in protecting brain cells from the toxic beta-amyloid protein that is increased in Alzheimer's disease," Professor Yadav explained.
Fennel, which gives basil its specific flavor, best stimulates the FFRAR2 receptor. Experiments on humans and mice have proven a significant reduction in the risk of amyloid plaque formation in the brain and neutron death when stimulated by FFAR2. To discover the therapeutic properties of fenchol, scientists had to test 144 thousand natural compounds, after which the sample was reduced to 15 candidates.
In September, scientists from Curtin University in Australia have identified probable causes of Alzheimer's disease. They were particles which transport toxic proteins from blood to the brain. Specialists suggested that diet and drug therapy could help regulate the presence of toxic proteins in the blood.