Nutrient found in Brussels sprouts could combat dementia
Christmas might be over, but it seems Brussels sprouts might be sticking around.
A staple of most people’s Christmas dinner, the humble sprout divides opinion, with some loving and other loathing. But scientists have now found the vegetable contains a nutrient, the acid produced by vitamin A, which combats neurological disorders, including dementia.
The nutrient is also found in carrots, spinach and tomatoes, and other vitamin A-rich vegetables.
Teams from the universities of Durham and Aberdeen are making a pill made up of a supercharged version of the nutrient, and have confirmed that trials on humans could be rolled out in the next 24 months.
While adding more sprouts and carrots to your diet won’t stave off dementia, Professor Peter McCaffery, of the University of Aberdeen, explains that by harnessing the vitamin A, strides can be made in tackling diseases like Alzheimer’s.
“When we eat Brussels sprouts it increases the amount of this acid in the brain,” he said.
“We are not saying doubling your portion of sprouts over Christmas will stop you getting Alzheimer's. That would be the wrong message. But they are good for the body, so that means they are good for the brain. The compound we are developing works on exactly the same receptors as the acid from Brussels sprouts.
“The evidence is it will boost the number of neurons and the connections between them.”
Vitamin A gets turned into retinoic acid in the body, and plays a vital role in the central nervous system. In the adult brain it also plays a more focused role, and is believed to help degenerative and psychiatric neurological disorders.