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Soy Product Fights Abnormal Protein in Alzheimer's Disease
USAgNet - 02/20/2009

A vegan food renowned in Asia for its ability to protect against heart attacks also shows a powerful ability in lab experiments to prevent formation of the clumps of tangled protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease, scientists in Taiwan are reporting. Their study is in the Feb. 11 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Rita P. Y. Chen and colleagues point out that people in Asia have been eating natto--a fermented food made from boiled soybeans--for more than 1,000 years. Natto contains an enzyme, nattokinase, that has effects similar to clot-busting drugs used in heart disease. Nattokinase is sold a dietary supplement to improve the body’s circulatory system. The scientists term this the first study on whether nattokinase also can dissolve amyloids. Those tangled proteins are involved in Alzheimer’s disease and several other health problems.

In the study, the nattokinase degraded several kinds of amyloid fibrils, suggesting its possible use in the treatment of amyloid-related diseases.

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