Break To The Degenerative Process of Alzheimer’s Disease – Probiotics, The New Promise!

brainThe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are not unique which means that they may be similar to other diseases such as dementia or other brain diseases. Hence, its diagnosis and management has remained a challenge. AD manifests as memory-loss, agitation, wandering and sleeplessness. This disease was first described by Alois Alzheimer in 1907. Though it is more than a century since this disease was discovered, sadly, still there exists no cure for this disease. The manifestation of disease such as loss of memory and thinking ability can be alleviated by prescribing reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil and rivastigmine. However other symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation and anxiety can be managed by other medications. Thus, there is no single medication that can be prescribed as a cure for AD, but only can help the patient feel better.

Cause of AD and its Relief by probiotics:

In patients with AD, probiotics have entered as a sign of relief. It is argued that probiotics have both prophylactic and therapeutic effects in AD.

1. Role of probiotic, phosphatidyl serine (PS) in AD:

Phospholipids are an important component of the cell membrane of all the cells. Probiotics is a cocktail of good bacteria therefore is rich in phospholipids. In patients with AD, high dose level (300 mg/day) of phosphatidyl serine (PS) has shown to slow or even stop the pathogenic effects of AD. High levels of PS can help to combat the ill-effects of the accumulated toxins. In fact it has been seen that as the bacteria of probiotics die, they provide the much needed phospholipids in the host body by absorption. Thus, in AD which essentially is a degenerative disease, availability of the abundance of phospholipids can help stop the progression of the disease.

2. Effect of levels free-radicals and calcium:

Mitochondria also called”powerhouse of the cell” is responsible for the supply of energy to the cells. With mitochondrial dysfunction, there is an accumulation of a large amount of free-radicals (molecules with uneven number of electrons). Though, it is normal to have free radicals in a healthy human body, the high concentration of such radicals can cause havoc in patients with AD, leading to destroying of the healthy cells as well. In addition, an elevated level of calcium is also not welcome for a healthy working of the body. Calcium is a charged molecule that is involved in signal transduction, therefore is responsible for the transmission of the signals in the nerve cells. When the concentration gradient is altered (with high levels of calcium in the body), the current developed for transmission is also changed, thereby manifesting as one of the symptoms of AD. Probiotics can become as rescuer in this situation by stabilizing the calcium levels. Excess calcium is used by probiotics as fodder, pushing out the excess of the calcium through normal pathways rendering body free from this excess calcium. In fact, calcium in our body is usually bound. Probiotics can come to an aid to patients with AD as it helps to release these bound calcium state. Thus, probiotics can work in both ways to establish the optimum level of calcium in the body.

3. Isoflavone and its role in AD:

Isofavone have weak estrogenic action. These are of two types: one with sugar (glycone) and the other without sugar (aglycone). As Isoflavones with the sugar part is very bulky, it cannot be absorbed with the attached sugar. Thus, the sugar of isoflavone needs to be removed to be able to be absorbed in the body. This can be achieved by an enzyme, glucosidase. Also, we must know the relationship between tau, a protein and isoflavone. Tau helps to stabilize the microtubules and is abundantly found in the central nervous system. If tau fails to perform its function of stabilizing the microtubule, it can lead to dementia and AD. Estrogen and estrogenic-like compounds such as isoflavones helps to regulate tau. According to a study published in Arch Neurol. (2009), abnormally high cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of tau and abnormally low Abeta42 level is indicative of the presence of AD, with high accuracy. Products which are fermented with probiotics are rich in aglycone isoflavones, therefore providing high quality proteins along with absorbable isoflavones. Thus, isoflavones can be of usefulness in patients with AD as it can regulate this protein.

4. Probiotics in intestinal luminal polyamine (PA) production:

According to a study published in Med Hypotheses in 2011, the authors discussed the benefits of probiotics in upregulation of the intestinal luminal polyamine (PA) production. It was found that probiotics prevents inflammaging, thereby can act as a major contributor for the management of degenerative disease such as AD.

Summing up, unless an effective treatment modality for managing AD is found, probiotics can be an effective tool in prolonging the symptoms of this disease.


1. Matsumoto M, Kurihara S. Probiotics-induced increase of large intestinal luminal polyamine concentration may promote longevity. Med Hypotheses. 2011 Oct;77(4):469-72. Epub 2011 Jul 13.
2. Tapiola T, Alafuzoff I, Herukka SK, et al. Cerebrospinal fluid {beta}-amyloid 42 and tau proteins as biomarkers of Alzheimer-type pathologic changes in the brain. Arch Neurol. 2009 Mar;66(3):382-9.
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