- A component of chicory helps to reduce memory loss, a new study has found
- This is a sign of dementia – believed to be caused by toxic clumps in the brain
- But chicoric acid – also found in lettuce – may help to prevent their formation
Having a chicory salad for lunch could stop you from getting dementia, scientists claim.
A component of the vegetable helps to reduce memory loss – one of the earliest signs of the disease, a new study has found.
Chicoric acid may help prevent the formation of toxic clumps, known as amyloid plaques, in the brain.
These are believed to be the signature hallmark of the disease, affecting the organ’s ability to work effectively.
And experts believe the substance, which also resides in lettuce and dandelion, could be used in future to prevent the build-up of clumps.
A component of chicory helps to reduce memory loss – one of the earliest signs of the disease
Chinese researchers discovered it worked by blocking a major brain pathway known to cause the amyloid plaques.
These form when proteins fold abnormally in the brain, having toxic effects on the organ and causing memory loss.
To test the effects of chicoric acid on memory, Chinese researchers used three groups of mice.
Some rodents were given lipopolysaccharide (LPS), while others received both this and chicoric acid. A control group was also assessed.
Their learning and memory capabilities were evaluated four hours after being injected through two separate tests.
They found the LPS-only group took a longer time to find a specified platform compared to the control group.
Chicoric acid was discovered to help prevent the formation of toxic clumps in the brain – the signature hallmark of dementia
But the rodents who received the chicoric acid supplements were much quicker at performing the task, the study published in The FASEB Journal found.
The Northwest A&F University, in Yangling, researchers then removed the platform and instead marked a target area to assess how they responded.
Those treated with chicoric acid displayed a significant increase in the average time spent in the designated area.
While those who only received LPS spent less time there – even compared to the control group.
This comes just days after a Canadian study found couch potatoes are just as likely to get dementia as those born with a specific gene.
Their findings mean that even without genetic risk factors, over-65s who rarely exercise are among the most likely to develop the disease.