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Undergraduate Research Journal

Keywords

Alzheimer's disease, Nutraceuticals, Functional Foods

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive disorder involving buildup of excessive amounts of proteins such as beta amyloid in the brain that leads to memory loss, inability to perform daily functions, and an early death. By 2060, the number of cases is forecast to nearly triple current numbers. Age is the primary risk factor for AD and no new drugs have been approved since 2003. Nutraceuticals, a broad category of substances that can be utilized for both medicinal and nutritional purposes may be able to help, which is why they are being more widely researched. Overall, a number of attempts to use isolated nutrients such as vitamins have failed to display in showing any improvement in AD. In fact, some of them have even worsened the disease, and the ones showing major improvements had some methodological flaws. However, isolated non-nutritive antioxidants and peptides exert some beneficial effects in vitro, in vivo, and in clinical trials, while non-isolated whole food extracts and melatonin show potential in clinical trials. Unfortunately, no known treatment can reverse disease progression, though some can slow it. Most of the treatments covered in this article had few side effects. Future research could combine some of these treatments and provide a possible natural prevention/treatment option for AD.

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