Beetroot could be basis of new treatments

24 December 2020

The beetroot peptide may help treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

Researchers from the Medical University of Austria have discovered a beetroot peptide that inhibits a particular enzyme involved in the breakdown of protein hormones in the body. It is also capable of modulating inflammatory reactions. The beetroot peptide has been called bevuTI-I-beta vulgaris trypsin inhibitor.

The action of the newly discovered peptide has led researchers to conclude that it could be candidate for treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Researchers are now exploring if the beetroot peptide can be developed to create drugs that can be used to treat such conditions.

The researchers surmise that the trypsin inhibitor they have found in beetroot is probably there to defend against insects, in that they inhibit specific enzymes in their digestive tracts, to repel plant predators. The beetroot compound is said to be particularly interesting as it is a serine protease inhibitor.  It has been found that the covid-19 virus relies on two serine proteases to configure the spike for entry in the cells of the body. Blocking one or both proteases is a potential anti-viral strategy.

The researchers also note that the peptide is present in beetroot juice, but only in very low concentrations.  They say that it is not clear if the peptide can be absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract.

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