Why our brain ages right along with our skin – and a simple way to protect both

July 03, 2015
Volume 3    |   Issue 26

It's no coincidence that our brains age right along with our skin. It seems that the older our skin looks, the worse our brain works. Researchers have known for a while that oxidative and environmental stress causes us to age. So researchers in three different studies looked to see if these stressors made us look older, our brain to function worse, and whether a simple food can help with both.

We've known for a long time that garlic is great for fighting infections and keeping us healthy. We've also known that it reduces oxidative stress. But researchers have found that garlic makes our brains more resilient to stress and inflammation that comes from neurological disease and basic aging. The researchers at the University of Missouri found that garlic protects our brain and our body's basic aging mechanism. In fact, they think it could be used as a preventative for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

In this study, published last year in PLoS One, the researchers investigated how components of aged garlic extract (AGE), a common dietary supplement, affected antioxidative and neuroinflammatory responses in certain cells. They found that AGE had significant effects in these processes, suggesting that garlic can have a role in regulating proteins involved in oxidative stress, which ages all of our cells and makes us look much older than we are. They also make our brains function like a much older person.

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Another study, recently published in Brain Research and conducted by researchers at Chengdu Military General Hospital in China, found that oxidative stress plays a role in ischemic brain damage.  For their study, they focused on the antioxidant properties of a compound found in garlic oil, called DATS.  They found that this compound helped protect cells from injury, and they're hopeful that they may be able to find uses for DATS in helping stroke patients recover.

And a third study found that garlic protects your skin in much the same way it protects your brain. In this study, the researchers looked at three isolated garlic compounds; caffeic acid (CA), S-allyl cysteine (SAC), and uracil. They wanted to know if it could influence UVB-induced wrinkle formation and/or the expression of matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP) and NF-kB signaling. In essence, they wanted to know if garlic protected your skin from aging like it does your brain.

They found that all three compounds from garlic "significantly inhibited degradation of type l procollagen, inhibited MMP expression, hindered histological collagen fiber disorder and alleviated oxidative stress in vivo." Again, this is the same damage that causes problems in your brain cells.

So the next time you're preparing dinner, grab the garlic.  With repeated use, you can help protect your brain cells and your skin cells from damage due to environmental stress. If you aren't a fan of the taste, you can consider taking it in a supplement, such as Kyolic, to gain similar benefits.

To your health, naturally,







Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25896937.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25420111.

Kim SR, Jung YR, An HJ, Kim DH, Jang EJ, Choi YJ, Moon KM, Park MH, Park CH, Chung KW, Bae HR, Choi YW, Kim ND, Chung HY. Anti-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory effects of active garlic components and the inhibition of MMPs via NF-kB signaling. PLoS One. 2013; 16;8:e73877.

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