A diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer's-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease, an advance that could one day pave the way for treatment of dementia in humans, say researchers.
The study, led by the University of Southern California in the US, supports the idea that combination therapy, rather than a single magic bullet, may offer the best approach to treating people living with Alzheimer's.
Combination treatment is already the standard of care for diseases such as cancer, HIV infection and rheumatoid arthritis.
The findings, published in the journal Biological Chemistry, showed that a combination of EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate - found in green tea; and FA, or ferulic acid - found in carrots, tomatoes, rice, wheat and oats, completely restored spatial working memory.
After three months of treatment, the Alzheimer's mice performed just as well as the healthy comparison mice.
"You don't have to wait 10 to 12 years for a designer drug to make it to the market. You can make these dietary changes today. I find that very encouraging," said Terrence Town, Professor at the varsity.
For the study, the researchers assigned 32 mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms to one of four groups with an equal number of males and females for three months.
The dosage was 30 milligrams per kilogram of body weight - a dosage well-tolerated by humans and easily consumed as part of a healthy diet.
The researchers noted that many mouse discoveries never translate into human treatments.
However, the findings lend credence to the idea that certain readily available, plant-based supplements might offer protection against dementia in humans, they said.