A compound in beet plant that gives the vegetable its distinctive red colour may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a study claims. Researchers at the University of South Florida in the US found that the compound could slow the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain, a process associated with Alzheimer’s.
The discovery could lead to the development of drugs that may alleviate some of the long-term effects of the disease, the world’s leading cause of dementia, researchers said. “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,” said Li-June Ming from University of South Florida.
“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 synthesise drugs that could make life a bit easier for those who suffer from this disease,” said Ming, who presented the research at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).