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Early stage discovery: Beets and Alzheimer's

Doctors don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but suspect a protein, beta-amyloid, binds with metals such as copper or iron, forming clumps that promote oxidation and inflammation.

In the lab, doctors added betanin, which is the main pigment found in red beets, to a copper-bound beta-amyloid clump, and found that oxidation dropped by as much as 90 percent.

Discussing the findings, doctors said that by reducing oxidation, betanin could prevent or slow the clumping of beta-amyloid peptides, which they believe could be the ultimate cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

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