(PRNewswire) Research from Dr. Jaeho Ha, of the World Institute of Kimchi, suggests that the salted and fermented vegetable side dish could assist in alleviating symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. "The main ingredients of kimchi, including cabbage, radish and red pepper powder, are rich in various antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta carotene, and these are believed to potentially alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease," he states. "Kimchi's dietary fiber content could also contribute to improving vascular dementia by reducing cholesterol levels."
The scientific basis supporting this assumption came from Professor Yeong Ok Song's team in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Pusan National University. The research revealed through experiments that kimchi and bioactive compounds have positive effects on improving cognitive and memory functions impaired by amyloid beta, the cause of Alzheimer's disease. This research was published in the recent issue of Nutrients.
Professor Song's team intentionally injected amyloid beta into the brains of mice in order to induce Alzheimer's disease. In addition, capsaicin (propionic acid), quercetin (antioxidant component), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and kimchi extracts were each given to seven mice for two weeks.
Behavioral task tests, such as maze testing, were performed on all mice receiving beta amyloid, and it revealed that learning and memory functions were significantly reduced. However, the degree of a decrease in cognitive function was lower for mice fed with kimchi and its bioactive compounds. In kimchi-fed mice, the amount of reactive oxygen (the primary cause of aging) generated was lower, and glutathione, a higher quantity of antioxidant enzyme, was produced.
Inflammation of the cerebral nerve from continuous oxidative stress in the brain is also one of the causes of Alzheimer's disease. Inflammatory cytokines (proteins involved in inflammation induction) is largely increased in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics are perceived to reduce the risks of Alzheimer's disease. This study also revealed that kimchi and its bioactive compounds significantly reduced the level of inflammatory cytokines. In addition, oxidative stress reduced significantly in mice supplemented with propionic acid and quercetin.
Professor Song said, "It is presumed that the bioactive compounds abundant in kimchi alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease because of their antioxidant and anti-cancer effects."