Common fumes that most people breathe each day may increase the risk of dementia and other neurological diseases. These chemicals called type-2 alkenes are toxic to nerves and increase the risk of developing a host of neurological problems including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Type-2 Alkenes and the Risk of Dementia
Type-2 alkenes are found in cigarette smoke, which is easy to avoid by not smoking, but that’s not the only place these toxic chemicals are found. Most people are exposed to them every day from breathing in car exhaust fumes.
You may already be familiar with another type of type-2 alkene – acrylamides. Acrylamides are formed when carbohydrates are heated to high temperatures. They’re found in large amounts in such foods as French fries, potato chips, bread and packaged cereals.
Scientists have long been concerned about the cancer-causing potential of acrylamides, and now they believe they increase the risk of dementia too. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to completely avoid exposure to type-2 alkenes since they’re emitted from car exhausts and found in processed foods.
How Do Type-2 Alkenes Increase the Risk of Dementia?
Type-2 alkenes from food and the environment directly attack nerve cell endings in the brain. Scientists have even found type-2 allkenes in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. As type-2 alkenes launch their attack on nerve cell endings, their function is gradually lost.
Is There a Way to Block the Effects of Type-2 Alkenes?
If you feel you’re swimming in a sea of alkenes, you may be right. But there may be a way to protect your brain from its damaging effects. Researchers discovered that natural compounds like curcumin, apple skin and resveratrol help offset the effects of 2-alkenes on the nervous system by serving as a source of a chemical called 2-ACP that has neuroprotective properties. They’re hoping to harness the power of 2-ACP as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Alkenes and the Risk of Dementia: The Bottom Line?
You may not be able to completely avoid exposure to nerve damaging type-2 alkenes, but you can reduce your risk by not smoking and limiting processed foods, especially potato chips and French fries. Try adding more tumeric to your food since it contains the 2-ACP chemical that protects nerve cells against damage. Studies are already looking at curcumin as a possible Alzheimer’s disease treatment – and it’s as close as your local grocery store spice aisle.
Medical News Today. “Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke, Auto Exhaust and French Fries Accelerate the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease”.