Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to affect nearly 16 million Americans by 2050. Researchers are hopeful that cocoa extract could be a possible preventative treatment.

Lavado, an extract from cocoa, may reduce or block damage to nerve pathways in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, thus reducing symptoms such as cognitive decline.

Researchers have long known that cocoa and dark chocolate have substantial health benefits, due to their sky-high content of polyphenols. In the past, studies have focused mainly on the general health-promoting and protective aspects of cocoa’s various antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

Now, a new animal study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the June 2014 issue of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease explores ways in which cocoa works at the molecular and cellular level to reduce damage to nerve pathways in Alzheimer’s disease. As nerve pathway damage can be seen long before patients even develop symptoms, there is hope that cocoa polyphenols may be able to help prevent the disease’s onset.

According to the researchers, lavado cocoa extract could pave the way for new treatments, but further studies are needed to better understand how the extract works in the human brain. NaturalHealth365