A food flavorant, diacetyl (DA), used in movie popcorn intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer's Reading Room
However, after seeing it covered on every news station I watch, I decided to put this information up for our readers.
The study suggests a flavorant that adds buttery taste to foods and a smooth feel to beverages may also trigger Alzheimer’s disease.
The flavorant, diacetyl, already is linked to lung damage in people who work in microwave popcorn factories. This led many microwave popcorn makers to stop using diacetyl in their products. But now other workers exposed to diacetyl — and possibly consumers as well — may face another risk.
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Artificial butter flavoring ingredient linked to key Alzheimer’s disease process
A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products.
It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The study appears in ACS’ journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
Robert Vince and colleagues Swati More and Ashish Vartak explain that DA has been the focus of much research recently because it is linked to respiratory and other problems in workers at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring factories.
DA gives microwave popcorn its distinctive buttery taste and aroma.
DA also forms naturally in fermented beverages such as beer, and gives some chardonnay wines a buttery taste.
Vince’s team realized that DA has an architecture similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain — clumping being a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. So they tested whether DA also could clump those proteins.
DA did increase the level of beta-amyloid clumping. At real-world occupational exposure levels, DA also enhanced beta-amyloid’s toxic effects on nerve cells growing in the laboratory.
Other lab experiments showed that DA easily penetrated the so-called “blood-brain barrier,” which keeps many harmful substances from entering the brain. DA also stopped a protective protein called glyoxalase I from safeguarding nerve cells.
“In light of the chronic exposure of industry workers to DA, this study raises the troubling possibility of long-term neurological toxicity mediated by DA,” say the researchers.The authors acknowledge funding from the Center for Drug Design (CDD) research endowment funds at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
The Butter Flavorant, Diacetyl, Exacerbates β-Amyloid Cytotoxicity, http://bit.ly/MzwpsG
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room