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Maple syrup might be more than just a sweet treat for your taste buds. Two new studies reveal that it could help prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
One study conducted on test tubes, led by Donald Weaver, PhD, director of the Krembil Research Institute at the University Health Network in Toronto, found that a maple syrup extract prevented two brain cell proteins (beta amyloid and tau peptide) from clumping together and folding the wrong way. When cellular proteins accumulate, they form the plaque that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
A similar study, led by Navindra Seeram, PhD, of The University of Rhode Island, showed that the extract also reduced inflammation created by microglial brain cells (the primary immune cells of the central nervous system that defend against illness-causing organisms) in addition to protecting neurons.
Don’t start guzzling gallons of syrup Elf-style just yet, however. Further research is needed to pinpoint the compounds responsible for the effects and to see if the results can be mimicked in people.
Dr. Seeram recommends darker, pure maple syrups, which pack more healthy compounds, and avoiding “pancake syrup,” which often contains high-fructose corn syrup and other additives.