Nrf2 and Nervous System

Benefits of Nrf2:
  • Reduce amyloid plaque accumulation

  • Increase regeneration of dopamine fibers

  • Protect lipids in brain and nerve cells

  • Inhibits free radical damage/cellular stress

  • Slows inflammatory stress in brain and nerve cells

  • Enhances integrity of blood vessels in brain

  • Increases activity of protective proteins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)

The Science Behind Nrf2’s Brain & Nervous System Benefits

Natural plant-derived bioactive compounds (phytonutrients) have been shown to exert both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in brain tissue. For example, Nrf2-activating phytonutrients such as EGCG from green tea, curcumin from turmeric, and quercetin from onions are known to reduce amyloid plaque accumulation (Alzheimer’s) and increase regeneration of dopamine fibers (Parkinson’s), suggesting a general neuro-protective benefit. Indeed, population studies have shown a dramatic protective effect of diets high in fruits/vegetables and healthy oils (Mediterranean and Okinawan diets) on risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Although the range of brain and nervous system diseases is varied with distinct pathologic features, there is considerable scientific evidence to support oxidative stress as a common pathogenic mechanism in many neurological conditions. Oxidative damage occurs early in virtually all nervous system disorders, including chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), as well as acute brain injury such as stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI, including concussions), suggesting that oxidative stress plays a prominent role in disease progression. Nrf2 activation is disrupted in many nervous system disorders and brain levels of protective antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione, etc) are typically reduced in neurodegenerative disorders as well as during normal aging. For example, neurons with low Nrf2 activity are more susceptible to oxidative stress, but cellular damage can be reduced through Nrf2 activation. In both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh (J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2007 January; 66(1): 75-85) have described an insufficient and disrupted activation of the Nrf2 pathway in neurons located in the areas of the brain affected by the disease process.

One important study has shown that a specific blend of phytonutrients “Nrf2 Activator” can significantly increase levels of superoxide dismutase and catalase in human subjects (Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Jan 15;40(2):341-7). Conducted at the Webb-Waring Institute for Cancer, Aging and Antioxidant Research at the University of Colorado in Denver, the study showed that natural activation of the Nrf2 pathway increased superoxide dismutase by 30% and catalase by 54%, while reducing cellular damage by an average of 40% within 30 days. Importantly, the typical age-related increase in cell damage completely disappeared after supplementation with “Nrf2 Activator” – so much so that a 78-year old subject had similar (low) levels of cellular damage to that of a 20-year old subject (indicating a dramatic cellular anti-aging effect).

*Information provided on this site is for educational purposes only. Do your own research, and consult with a medical professional about your findings. “Nrf2 activator” is a dietary supplement, not a drug. We do not promote or intend to imply or represent that it can prevent, cure, treat or mitigate any disease or class of disease. “Nrf2 activator” is not intended to be an alternative or replacement for any drug or biological product.