Mind Matters

Good Health LifestylesFeatures

The prospect of developing Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the most frightening possibility to aging people. Yet, it’s a reality for more than six million Americans. And, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, that number is projected to rise to approximately 13 million by the year 2050. Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to reduce the odds that you’ll be among the statistics.

The Anatomy of Alzheimer’s

The official cause of Alzheimer’s—at least according to conventional science—is the abnormal buildup of two proteins called beta-amyloid and tau in and around brain cells. An overabundance of beta-amyloid creates plaques that disrupt cell function while tau creates tangles that destroy neurons. But what causes this toxic buildup? Inflammation. Testing shows that people with amyloid plaques who develop Alzheimer’s have inflammatory markers in the brain. Yet, people without the disease don’t have these markers, despite having the same plaques in their brains.

Cutting-edge studies suggest that inflammation in the brain may be the true root cause of Alzheimer’s because it drives the buildup of both beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. According to one recent study in the journal Nature Medicine, the interaction between inflammation in the brain and these plaques accelerates the development of neuron-killing tau tangles. And this eventually leads to cognitive impairment due to damage throughout the brain.

Current drugs, which are designed to reduce this inflammation and enhance cognitive function, haven’t proven effective. And the way many people live their lives—full of pro-inflammatory foods and less-than-healthy habits—simply adds insult to injury, increasing their risk of cognitive decline even more. But there’s one herb that may hold the answer to preserving brain function by keeping neuroinflammation in check.

The Andrographis Answer

Andrographis is a bitter herb with a wide array of benefits. It’s a potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, immune system stimulant, and liver protector. But one of this herb’s star benefits is its ability to prevent out-of-control inflammation, especially in the brain. In one animal study that appeared in the journal Molecular Neurobiology, the active compound in andrographis (andrographolide) was found to significantly reduce a key inflammatory marker called interleukin-6 (IL-6), as well as the total amount of beta-amyloid plaque.

Other preliminary research suggests that andrographis could help improve cognitive function in those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease—three other neurological diseases in which inflammation plays a role. Plus, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in andrographis may even help prevent a stroke.

What about those senior moments that cause you to worry? Emerging evidence suggests that a daily dose of andrographis might help keep you sharp by enhancing signaling pathways in the brain. And the more efficiently brain cells communicate with each other, the better your overall memory and cognition will be.

But not all andrographis supplements can provide these benefits. To ensure you’re getting all the brain-saving perks andrographis has to offer, look for a supplement that provides a powerful dose of andrographolide. One proprietary formula features a unique blend of andrographis stem and leaf extracts for a total of 400 mg of andrographis. Listed on labels under the name EP80, this unique blend delivers 80 mg of andrographolide, which is the highest potency available.

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