Betanin – Beet Pigment May Help Alzheimer’s
Doctors don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s disease but suspect a protein, beta-amyloid, binds with metals such as copper or iron, forming clumps that promote oxidation and inflammation. Who knew that a deep red pigment color found in beets, betanin, holds promise for Alzheimer’s?
In the lab, doctors added a beet extract compound, called betanin, to a copper-bound beta-amyloid clump, and found that oxidation dropped by as much as 90 percent. Betanin is a pigment that gives beets their distinctive deep red coloring.
Discussing the findings, doctors said that by reducing oxidation, betanin could prevent or slow the clumping of beta-amyloid peptides, which they believe could be the ultimate cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our data suggest that betanin, a compound in beet extract, shows some promise as an inhibitor of certain chemical reactions in the brain that are involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Li-June Ming, Ph.D. “This is just a first step, but we hope that our findings will encourage other scientists to look for structures similar to betanin that could be used to synthesize drugs that could make life a bit easier for those who suffer from this disease.”