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The use of antioxidants to treat Alzheimer's disease
Lane Simonian
Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 10:32 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5140

The following is quite illuminating regarding the potential of antioxidants to treat Alzheimer's disease:

Additionally, Mcmanus et al. reported that treatment with the antioxidant MitoQ (mitoquinone mesylate) was effective in the prevention of cognitive impairment, oxidative stress, Aβ deposition, astrogliosis, synaptic loss, and caspase activation in 3xTg-AD mice, which express the Swedish mutation and also show tau-related pathology as observed in AD patients [140]. These results apparently show a beneficial effect of antioxidant therapy in the treatment of FAD, although it is important to consider that clinical trials performed in LOAD patients have shown only a very modest effect in memory and cognition improvement and disease progression delay. Clinical trials testing the effect of antioxidants specifically in FAD patients have not been conducted yet, to the extent of our knowledge, but considering the amyloidogenic genetic background of this patients and the more aggressive nature of this AD form, the results may be not very promising.

It does not matter whether a person has early onset Alzheimer's disease or late onset Alzheimer's disease, the right antioxidant or antioxidants can treat and partially reverse Alzheimer's disease.

But why do they only seem to work in mice. Part of it has to do with how well the antioxidant is absorbed (curcumin, for example, is not well absorbed into the bloodstream). Part of it is how far the antioxidant has to travel to reach the brain (that is why direct inhalation is almost always the best way to deliver the antioxidant).

Polyphenols in theory are good antioxidants because they donate hydrogen atoms and electrons, but methoxyphenols (such as eugenol in various essential oils, curcumin in aerosolized turmeric, syringic acid and ferulic acid in steamed ginseng) because they increase hydrogen donation from the phenolic group.

Taking into account that in vivo evidence showed that peroxynitrite induces Alzheimer-like tau hyperphosphorylation, nitration, and accumulation [26], it was reported that curcumin mediates the direct detoxification of reactive nitrogen species such as peroxynitrite, thus exerting an antioxidant activity [27]... The orthomethoxy group can form an intramolecular hydrogen bond with the phenolic hydrogen, making the H-atom abstraction from the orthomethoxyphenols surprisingly easy [18]. The H abstraction from these groups is responsible for the remarkable antioxidant activity of curcumin.

Thus the right antioxidants can treat Alzheimer's disease; indeed so far they are the only thing that has effectively treated Alzheimer's disease and they are likely to be the only thing that effectively treat Alzheimer's disease.