Calcium is one of the most crucial elements for sustaining life. It is essential to ensure healthy bones, healthy teeth. Our heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Therefore one must ensure that there is adequate amount of calcium in their respective diets to make sure all these bodily functions are going well. However according to a latest study, excess levels of the mineral in brain cells may lead to the formation of toxic clusters that are common in Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease where the central nervous system that affects movement, often including tremors. Parkinson's disease is typically caused when naturally occurring proteins fold into the wrong shape and stick together with other proteins in the brain, eventually forming thin filament-like structures called amyloid fibrils. These amyloid deposits of aggregated alpha-synuclein, also known as Lewy bodies, are the sign of Parkinson's disease.
The findings revealed that while calcium is essential to mediate the interaction between smallsmall membranous structures inside nerve endings -- important for neuronal signalling in the brain, and alpha-synuclein -- the protein associated with Parkinson's disease. It is the excess levels that could cause the problem. The scientists revealed excess levels of either calcium or alpha-synuclein may have a role in starting the chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells.
"This is the first time we've seen that calcium influences the way alpha-synuclein interacts with synaptic vesicles," said lead author Janin Lautenschlager from University of Cambridge. "We think that alpha-synuclein is almost like a calcium sensor. In the presence of calcium, it changes its structure and how it interacts with its environment, which is likely very important for its normal function," Lautenschlager added.
For the study published in journal Nature Communications, the team isolated synaptic vesicles -- part of the nerve cells that store the neurotransmitters which send signals from one nerve cell to another.
The findings claimed that in neurons calcium plays a role in the release of neurotransmitters. They also found a fine balance between calcium and alpha-synuclein in the cell. It is when there is too much calcium in the body that the problem begins. The balance gets tipped and aggregation begins, leading to Parkinson's disease.
While one cannot completely treat Parkinson's disease, you can surely slow it down with exercise and adding cinnamon to your daily diet. Cinnamon is not only a commonly used kitchen spice but also a healing ingredient that has been known to cure a lot of health problems. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, few weeks ago. Cinnamon may help slowing down the progression of Parkinson's disease.
One of the best ways to extract all the goodness from cinnamon is to soak the stick in water and sip on it on a regular basis. Backed by various health experts, cinnamon infused water makes for a wonder drink that has innumerable healing properties.
The study found that after oral feeding, ground cinnamon is metabolized in the liver into sodium benzoate. It then enters in to the brain, stops the loss of important proteins Parkin and DJ-1, protects neurons, neutralizes neurotransmitter levels and further improves motor functions in mice with PD.
(With Inputs IANS)