Oxidative Damage a Contributor to Both Alzheimers and Parkinsons

By Joel Fuhrman, M.D. www.drfuhrman.com

An Antioxidant-Rich Diet Can Help Protect Against Neurodegenerative Disease!

Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s (PD) are both neurodegenerative diseases. They have progressive, destructive effects on the tissues of the brain. PD primarily affects movement, and AD primarily affects memory. Both diseases involve protein deposition and consequent plaque formation in the brain. In PD, plaques contain a protein called alphasynuclein. Plaques form in AD also, usually from another protein called amyloid-beta, but in some cases alpha-synuclein.

Oxidative damage plays a significant role in the progression of both diseases. Depletion of glutathione, an important antioxidant molecule in the brain, is thought to be central to the neuronal cell loss that is characteristic of both of these diseases. This loss of glutathione reduces the antioxidant capacity of brain tissue, resulting in oxidative damage to cells and ultimately results in dysregulated mitochondrial energy production and/or neuron death.23 Decline in energy production in the brain is an early change in AD.24 Glutathione levels have been reported to diminish with age and poor diet, and levels of other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, are important for maintaining glutathione levels.25

These considerations indicate that we can be proactive. Adopting an antioxidant-rich diet can help us protect our brains against neurodegenerative diseases.


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