Specific amino acids act against neurodegenerative processes, says study

Dementia is a condition that involves severe loss of cognitive function. It is induced by various disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The World Health Organization assumes that around 10 million people globally develop dementia each year, signifying the high psychological and social effects of this condition.

Specific amino acids act against neurodegenerative processes, says study
Brain atrophy occurred in the Alzheimer’s mouse model, which was accelerated by a low protein diet and suppressed by Amino LP7. Arrowheads indicate the ventricles, which were observed to grow larger in tandem with brain atrophy. Image Credit: National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology.

Dementia majorly impacts elderly people, and to date, simple and efficient strategies for avoiding this condition have been evasive.

Recently, Japanese scientists revealed that a low-protein diet can speed up brain degeneration in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Significantly, they identified that Amino LP7—a supplement having seven specific amino acids—can decelerate brain degeneration and dementia development in animals.

The study is based on earlier research works that have shown the efficiency of Amino LP7 in enhancing cognitive function. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

In older individuals, low protein diets are linked to poor maintenance of brain function. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. So, we wanted to understand whether supplementation with essential amino acids can protect the brains of older people from dementia and if yes, what mechanisms would contribute to this protective effect.”

Dr Makoto Higuchi, National Institutes for Quantum Sciences and Technology

Dr. Makoto Higuchi is the lead scientist of the research.

The scientists initially examined how a low-protein diet impacts the brain in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, generally exhibiting neurodegeneration and abnormal protein aggregates named “Tau” in the brain.

The researchers discovered that mice intaking a low-protein diet not only exhibited accelerated brain degeneration but also had signs of poor neuronal connectivity. Intriguingly, the effects were reversed after supplementation with Amino LP7 revealing that the combination of seven specific amino acids can stop brain damage.

The scientists further analyzed how Amino LP7 impacts various signs of brain degeneration in the Alzheimer’s model. Untreated mice revealed greater levels of progressive brain degeneration; however, Amino LP7 treatment inhibited neuronal death and thus decreased brain degeneration, even when the Tau aggregates were present.

Tau plaques in the brain are characteristic of Alzheimer’s and most treatments target them. However, we have shown that it is possible to overcome this Tau deposition and prevent brain atrophy via supplementation with Amino LP7.”

Dr Akihiko Kitamura, National Institutes for Quantum Sciences and Technology

Dr. Akihiko Kitamura also headed the research.

The scientists comprehensively examined the gene-level changes caused by Amino LP7 to further comprehend how Amino LP7 safeguards the brain. The observations were promising.

The researchers identified that Amino LP7 decreases brain inflammation and also stops kynurenine—an inflammation inducer—from entering the brain, thus hindering inflammatory immune cells from attacking neurons. The researchers also identified that Amino LP7 decreases neuronal death and enhances neuronal connectivity, enhancing brain function.

These results suggest that essential amino acids can help maintain balance in the brain and prevent brain deterioration. Our study is the first to report that specific amino acids can hinder the development of dementia. Although our study was performed in mice, it brings hope that amino acid intake could also modify the development of dementias in humans, including Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dr Hideaki Sato and Dr Yuhei Takado, National Institutes for Quantum Sciences and Technology

Dr. Hideaki Sato and Dr. Yuhei Takado contributed majorly to the research.

The current research provides various aspects to better comprehend the occurrence of dementia and its prevention. As Amino LP7 enhances brain function in the elderly without cognitive impairment, their observations show that it can be effective in individuals with cognitive dysfunction.

In the future, this patent-pending supplement can help millions globally live an enhanced, dementia-free life.

Source:
Journal reference:

Sato, H., et al. (2021) Neurodegenerative processes accelerated by protein malnutrition and decelerated by essential amino acids in a tauopathy mouse model. Science Advances. doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abd5046.

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