Nutty but True

Pecans may offer neurological protection in motor neuron diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Eating a handful of pecans every day may provide protection against the progression of motor neuron degeneration due to age or possibly even diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

A study from the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, suggests that the vitamin E antioxidant found in pecans may foster neurological protection. Antioxidants, found in many fruits, vegetables and nuts, help protect against cellular damage and have been shown to help combat a number of diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease and Parkinson's.

And now, as lead researcher Thomas B. Shea, PhD, indicates, regular consumption of pecans may delay progressive neuron degeneration.

Shea and cohorts conducted a number of studies on groups of mice bred to demonstrate severe declines in motor neuron function, commonly used in ALS studies. Some of the groups were fed varying amounts of pecans ground into food. The mice that were supplemented with pecans experienced a significant delay in motor-function decline compared to control groups, and the mice that ate the most pecans fared best. Results were based on how the mice performed in highly specialized tests.

In addition to vitamin E, pecans also contain vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins, and are sodium- and cholesterol-free.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 18, 2011
Last Updated:
January 19, 2011