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Maple Syrup Found to Protect Neurons

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 12:02PM

This bit of research is from the University of Montreal, which might not be all that surprising. Researchers there have discovered at maple syrup can actually help protect neurons from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Before you start downing any syrup though, this study was done with C. elegans worms that do not have to worry about illnesses like diabetes, and was just for educational purposes.

The C. elegans worms used have been genetically modified to express TDP-43, which is related to ALS, and will result in 50% of the worms being completely paralyzed after two weeks. To see if maple syrup would make a difference, the worms were given some at various concentrations and compared with worms on a normal diet. At the two week mark, only 17% of the worms were paralyzed, showing that the syrup did in fact help protect them from the illness.

The reason maple syrup helped is because it contains sugar and some powerful antioxidants, polyphenols. Neurons use sugar for food, and diseased neurons need more to fight the toxic proteins associated with ALS. Two of the antioxidants identified, gallic acid and catechol, also have a neuroprotective effect, which certainly helped as well, even though they are only present in small concentrations.

Source: University of Montreal Hospital Research Center

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