Tempeh isoflavones may reduce risk of dementia

Neurodegeneration is caused by continuous death if neurons resulting in age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. In the process of inflammation of brain cells the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators is important. Dietary factors may play a role in the prevention of neurodegeneration. Soybeans and it fermented products have been linked to many health benefits, including prevention of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and menopausal symptoms. Recently, soybeans have been investigated for their role as neuroprotective nutrient.

Ahmad et al conducted a study to compare the neuroprotective effects of isoflavones from soybean and tempeh on animals subjected to amnesia induced by scopolamine. They administered isoflavones (10, 20 and 40mg/kg) that were extracted from soybean or tempeh to rats. The drug scopolamine (1mg/kg) was used to induce amnesia in the animals. To measure the memory of the rats they used different behavioural models. The researchers found that treatment with soybean or tempeh isoflavones significantly reversed the scopolamine effect. The rats that were treated with 40mg/kg isoflavones showed the best improvement.

The study concluded that soybean and tempeh might be useful in the prevention and management of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Source: Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Mar;65:120-8. Total isoflavones from soybean and tempeh reversed scopolamine-induced amnesia, improved cholinergic activities and reduced neuroinflammation in brain.