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Red Wine, Chocolate and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

Portrait of a senior man listening to young Latino male doctor.

When you mention the words chocolate or red wine at a get together, you’ll likely have takers of one or the other or both. Not only do they taste good, but used in moderation they’ve been shown to have a beneficial effect on our bodies. And, as we all know, by taking care of our bodies, we can live much healthier lives, making our health insurance something we use less frequently.

Though it shouldn’t be considered a magic potion, resveratrol, a compound found in foods such as red wine and chocolate, has been highly praised for its potential anti-aging benefits as well as its link to heart health. But, now – it appears there may be a new reason to sip a glass of red wine.

Scientists have uncovered that resveratrol may actually help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The new research was published in the journal Neurology and discovered that a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease declines when people take resveratrol in a purified form.

In conducting the study, researchers analyzed 119 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease for 52 weeks. Randomly assigning some of the patients to take a placebo, while others were given a 500-milligram dose of resveratrol (later raised to a 1-gram dose) twice a day, researchers performed brain scans and spinal taps in both the beginning and end of the treatment.

What researchers found was that patients treated with resveratrol had virtually little or no change in amyloid-beta 40 levels in their blood and spinal fluid. Typically, as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, these levels will decrease. The reverse was true in people taking a placebo with their amyloid-beta 40 levels decreasing.

As a result of the study, scientists can conclude that resveratrol plays a role in blocking and slowing down the depletion of amyloid-beta 40, according to principal study investigator R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Turner goes on to say that his findings definitely suggest the possibility resveratrol may help slow or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. And, the belief among the scientific community that there’s a link between resveratrol and brain health is growing.

Case in point – research published in the journal Scientific Reports this past February found other positive benefits of resveratrol that showed it may help prevent memory loss in old age. Furthermore, in tests conducted earlier this year by researchers from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, it was also discovered that resveratrol may prevent brain inflammation as well as depressive behaviors.

However, Kostas Lyketsos, MD, director of the Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, cautions that it’s still too early to draw any finite conclusions based on recent research.

Still, both Turner and Lyketsos suggest the best ways to lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease are to maintain an ideal body weight and exercise regularly. Ideally, according to the doctors – you should follow a Mediterranean diet whenever possible. This involves eating a good deal of plant-based foods, whole grains, and replacing butter with olive oil. Oh yeah – and, having a glass of red wine a day.

Your health should be your first priority. And, there’s more to it than just following a well-balance diet. Having health insurance is a vital component in maintaining a healthy life.

Under the Affordable Care Act, having health coverage is mandated by law. Without it, not only do you put your health at risk, but you also face a penalty for not having health insurance. Don’t take your health for granted. Why not get your free California health insurance quote today?

Are you a strong believer in the benefits of red wine and chocolate and the benefits they may have in keeping your health and mind healthy? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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