"Amazon Tea" stimulates the formation of new neurons in the brain

Scientists from Complutense University of Madrid have found out that some components in ayahuasca drink can stimulate the process of nerve cell formation in neurodegenerative diseases. Four years of experiments on model animals have shown that a substance called dimethyltryptamine (DMT) improves brain function by activating the formation of not only neurons, but also "auxiliary" nerve cells - neuroglya.

DMT is a substance that is normally contained in the brain and plays the role of a neurotransmitter by participating in the processes of cognition and emotion formation. Dimethyltryptamine is also part of some plants, such as ayahuasca tea ("Amazon tea"), which is often used in shamanic practices: affecting the serotonin receptors type 2A in the brain, it has hallucinogenic effects.

During the experiments, scientists were able to "redirect" the effects of DMT in the beverage to another type of serotonin receptor (sigma type), which weakened or eliminated the hallucinogenic effect. A four-year study found that DMT in tea stimulates the neurogenesis process in mice with neurodegenerative disorders.

Neuronal death is the main cause of severe symptoms, such as memory loss and reduced cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Own neurogenesis (formation of new neurons) - especially in old age - is slow. DMT in the drink stimulated the process of neuron formation, primarily in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory. In animals exposed to "Amazon tea", memory was effectively recovered compared to mice from the control group. Experts noted that the recovery affected not only the neurons themselves, but also the neuroglyph cells that play the role of the immune system of the brain.

- This ability to modulate brain plasticity suggests that DMT in the beverage has great therapeutic potential for a wide range of mental and neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative disorders," explained Jose Angel Morales, a researcher in the Department of Cell Biology at the Complutense University.

Nov. 9, 2020, 12:39 p.m.

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