Health experts are constantly looking for new ways to delay dementia. But, according to ASBMB Today, an award-winning news magazine published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, there is one practice that Alzheimer’s disease patients may want to halt.
A new study led by the University of California San Diego claims that increased levels of the enzyme PHGDH in the blood could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings further explain that dietary and cognitive supplement users should be cautious. The study claims that, because the PHGDH enzyme is a key part of the production of serine, taking serine supplements may not be beneficial to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and might even make things worse.
“The fact that this gene’s expression level directly correlates with both a person’s cognitive ability and disease pathology is remarkable,” Sheng Zhong, a professor of bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, told ASBMB Today. “Being able to quantify both of these complex metrics with a single molecular measurement could potentially make diagnosis and monitoring progression of Alzheimer’s disease much simpler.”
Some researches have pushed back against this theory, claiming that PHGDH expression is actually lower in Alzheimer’s disease patients — making serine supplements a useful tool for combating dementia symptoms. This latest research, however, supports the possibility that serine supplements are potentially pushing these patients in the wrong direction.