Butter Popcorn Chemical Linked To Alzheimer’s « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

What is more dangerous than smoking marijuana? Eating buttered popcorn! The cannabinoids in cannabis have been shown to break up the beta-amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer's disease while a component in artificial butter flavor might actually encourage the depositing of the plaque into brain tissue. I once asked Dr. Andrew Weil, "What's in the butter stuff they put on popcorn in movie theaters?" Dr. Weil replied, "Nothing good!" Butter Popcorn Chemical Linked To Alzheimer’s

August 10, 2012 11:00 AM

NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) - An ingredient used in artificial butter flavoring for popcorn may worsen the effects of an abnormal brain protein that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study in Chemical Research in Toxicology examined diacetyl (DA), an ingredient used to produce the buttery flavor and smell in microwave popcorn, margarine, candy, baked goods and even pet food. It is also created naturally in fermented drinks like beer, and gives some chardonnay wines its buttery taste, according to the study.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis conducted an analysis of DA, a chemical which previously has been linked to respiratory problems in employees at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring factories. They found that DA has a structure that’s similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins. Too much amyloid that clumps together to form plaques are a tell-tale marker of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain. The researchers wanted to see whether DA would clump those proteins in a similar fashion to form plaques.

They found DA did lead to an increase in levels of beta-amyloid clumping, leading to toxic effects on nerve cells the scientists grew in a laboratory.

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