Soy Goo May Fight Alzheimer's

Enzyme in fermented beans attacks brain plaques
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2009 10:25 AM CST
Natto is a dish made from fermented, boiled soybeans.   (©jasja dekker)
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(Newser) – The good news: There may be a natural way to treat Alzheimer's disease. The bad news: It's kind of gross. A recent study found that natto, the stinky and slimy soybean product featured in some Japanese dishes, contains an enzyme that can shred the type of brain plaque that causes dementia, Wired reports. But don't load up your plate yet, scientists say.

For one thing, it's not clear that the nattokinase enzyme can reach the brain if taken orally, and even if it does, attacking the plaques may do more harm than good. "If the fibrils are broken down to smaller, non-fibrillar aggregates, they could be even more toxic," says an Alzheimer's expert.