Posted on Apr 19, 2019, 7 p.m.
Walnuts are a tasty snack, welcome salad addition, and may help to protect from disease, in particular help to fight inflammation and prevent brain decline according to Tufts University research published in the journal Nutrition Research.
Whole walnut extracts were hypothesized to inhibit lipopolysaccharide induced microglial activation by regulating calmodulin expressed through calcium ions; this was tested by treating a rat microglial cell line with different concentration of whole walnut extracts.
Treatment with whole walnut extract was found to slow increase in intracellular calcium in a dose and time dependent manner, the increase was amplified when cells were depolarized with potassium chloride; calmodulin protein levels in cells were increased regardless of extract concentration levels. Increase was inhibited when the cells were pretreated with the tumour promoter thapsigargin. Treatment with whole walnut extract one hour before LPS induction prevented increase of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, increase of ionized calcium ion binding adaptor-1, and downregulation of calmodulin.
Findings suggest walnuts contain bioactive compounds that help to regulate inflammatory responses in the brain; based on findings the team suggests walnuts may be used to help reduce chronic inflammation and prevent brain degeneration.
An earlier study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease revealed walnuts help to provide protections against the brain wasting disease; animals studies showed adhering to a walnut rich diet lead to significant improvements in learning skills, memory, motor development, and reduced anxiety.
Mice were fed a diet consisting of 6% or 9% walnuts which is the equivalent to 1 ounce or 1.5 ounces for humans; mice with the walnut enriched diet were observed to have improved cognitive function, motor development, and behavior. Walnuts were suggested to reduce risk, delay onset, or hamper the progression of AD which may be attributed to the high antioxidant content.
Per ounce walnuts contain 3.7 millimoles of antioxidants that will fight oxidative stress and inflammation which are both prominent characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. Walnuts are also the only nut to contain high levels of alpha linolenic acid that has been shown to provide heart and brain health benefits, which may have contributed to improvement of behavioral symptoms.
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This article is not intended to provide medical endorsement, advice, diagnosis or treatment.