Maple syrup protects neurons and prevents the development of Lou Gehrig’s disease in worms, reveals a study published Wednesday. This could now open up avenues for treating humans one day.
The study also has the peculiarity that it is the idea of two students of 17 years.
Catherine Aaron and Gabrielle Beaudry had hit in 2014 at the door of Alex Parker, a neuroscience researcher at the Research Centre of the Hospital of the University of Montreal. She then sought a mentor to an after-school project.
Two years later their research project is the subject of a publication in a scientific journal, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Their study was carried out on small worms genetically engineered to express a protein involved in Lou Gehrig’s disease, whose scientific name is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
At the age of two weeks, 50 percent of these worms are completely paralyzed. But only 17 percent of that received to maple syrup in their diet were paralyzed.
Alex Parker researcher concludes that the maple syrup protects neurons and prevents the development of this neurodegenerative disease.
Maple syrup not only contains sugar, which helps sick neurons to combat toxic proteins, but is also rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant, he explains.
But Mr Parker warns: will not stuff yourself with maple syrup thinking protect against neurological diseases! Humans who ingest a quantity of maple syrup comparable to what used to the might of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes or obesity. Worms, they do not have time to be affected, since they live only three weeks.
The results of the research could be applied to other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkison.
But it is still too early to measure the real benefits of maple syrup for human neurons. Further research is needed to confirm.