Yogurt and the Brain: You May Be Able to Protect Your Neurons With a Tasty Snack

Inactivation of the DJ-1 gene results in mitochondrial dysfunction (left), which can be restored by glycolate or D-lactate (right). Active mitochondria are shown in red, DNA is shown in blue

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics proved that adding D-lactate or glycolate to affected cells restored the activity of the mitochondria and prevented the degeneration of neurons, thus ensuring their survival. The authors showed that affected cells were recovered after the addition of these two substances. Researchers believe that the DJ-1products could have a general role in protecting cells from decline. As Kurzchalia says «we can develop yoghurt enriched with D-lactate: It could serve as a protection against Parkinson’s and is actually very tasty at the same time! ». Because glycolic and D-lactic acids occur naturally (in unripe fruits and certain kinds of yoghurt), they are therefore a potential therapeutic route for treatment or prevention of Parkinson’s disease.