Grape Seed Extract protects important regions involved with memory and movement in animal study

February 16, 2006

In aging there is an accumulation of damage to DNA and diverse deleterious changes in the cells that lead to increased risk of diseases. Damage by free radicals (the opposite of antioxidants) contributes to age-related damaging DNA protein cross-linkages in the brain and spinal chord (the central nervous system). Aged rats were compared to aged rats supplemented with Grape Seed Extract for 30 days. The Grape Seed Extract inhibited the age-related accumulated oxidative damage to DNA in the spinal chord and in various brain regions such as the cerebral cortex, striatum, and hippocampus. The cerebral cortex is a region of the brain where thought processes take place; this area is damaged in Alzheimer's disease. The striatum is a region of the brain that controls movement, balance, and walking. The hippocampus is the region of the brain important for learning and memory. It determines where memories are appropriately stored. It also regulates emotion and personality. The study is published in the February 15th, 2006 issue of Brain Research Bulletin.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

These drugs can accelerate heart rate, cause palpitations, lead to changes in blood pressure and pulse rate, cause angina and cardiac arrhythmias, increase anxiety, and agitation; it is not a stretch to consider that they may have serious consequences in isolated cases. Important Note: Parents should not discontinue the use of a drug without first consulting with the appropriate physician.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine may protect the central nervous system (the brain and spinal column) of patients with cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a condition where the liver is damaged usually due to a chronic viral infection or due to alcohol abuse. In cirrhosis the liver becomes hardened by fibrous tissue, scarred, full of fat, and is unable to do its many jobs such as removing toxins and drugs from the body. Toxic substances from the blood such as ammonia accumulate and cause brain damage that leads to personality changes, psychosis, diminished intellectual ability, impaired movement, and even coma and death; a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy. In animals and in cultured human neurons Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been shown to counteract some of the toxic effects of ammonia and other neurotoxins.

In this study, 18 patients with cirrhosis of the liver that lead to hepatic encephalopathy due to high levels of ammonia were supplemented with 500mg of Acetyl-L-Carnitine by injection. With just one supplementation with Acetyl-L-Carnitine, nerve function in the brain of these unfortunates improved significantly back towards normal albeit transiently (the P100 latency test reaction to visual stimuli improved significantly). The study is published in the January 2006 issue of the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology.