Germinated Brown Rice Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

sprouted brown rice shown to prevent Alzheimer's disease

Newly planted rice – nature’s germinated brown rice. Photo: Madeleine Deaton

What does germinated brown rice have to do with Alzheimer’s disease? Everything.

Pharmaceutical researchers are desperately seeking ways to prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. They are testing all sorts of synthetic compounds in an attempt to prevent oxidative damage to the brain’s neurons. They are seeking methods to reduce the brain cells’ production of amyloid beta plaque.

One might think this is an all-out war on Alzheimer’s disease. But its really not. There is a significant limiting factor in this billion-dollar “war” on Alzheimer’s disease:

The pharmaceutical companies’ research seems to be eliminating anything produced naturally.

Why? Well you probably know the reason: It is an economic factor. The pharmaceutical companies want to recover their investment. They want to be able to patent and sell the pharmaceutical they create for a profit. It’s not that they are necessarily bad guys: They just want to make some money. And typically, a lot of money.

Does this mean Nature doesn’t provide treatments and the means to prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Think again. Research finds that one of the cheapest natural products – germinated brown rice – can do the job.

Germinated brown rice and Alzheimer’s

Researchers from the medical school at Malaysia’s University of Putra have been investigating brown rice sprouts and Alzheimer’s disease? Why? Because brown rice is plentiful and easy to sprout.

When brown rice is sprouted, it also produces some incredible yet complex compounds.  These include rosmarinic acid, cinnamic acid, guaiacol, campesteryl ferulate, Methylene cycloartanyl ferulate, cycloartenyl ferulate, sitosteryl ferulate among others.

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Previous research on sprouted brown rice has also found that it contains a higher concentration of amino acids than unsprouted brown rice.

Brown rice sprouts also contain between 8 and 13 times the levels of a compound called gamma-aminobutyric acid – also referred to as GABA.

Why is this important? Because this incredible array of potent biochemicals happens to work to prevent the damage to neurons and the development of A-beta fibrils. And other research has found that sprouted brown rice may well decrease depression as well.

This is what the researchers found as they applied sprouted brown rice extract to brain cells in the laboratory.

What did the brown rice sprouts do?

The researchers cleaned and germinated the brown rice, and then ground the sprouts and made a powder from them. This process is scientifically called pre-germination, because the brown rice is not being propagated – er,  planted.

The researchers then took the brain cells and treated in such a way that they formed amyloid beta plaque. The process included the production of oxidative free radicals in the cell bath, which caused the amyloid plaque production. This of course involved a genetic process that effectively damaged the DNA of the cells.

This provided the means for the researchers to test the brown rice sprouted extract against the process that produces Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found the sprouted brown rice extract effectively reduced the oxidative damage to the brain cells. This then prevented the cells from producing the amyloid beta plaque.

Not the first study of germinated brown rice

There have been a number of studies previous to this one that have shown that pre-germinated brown rice sprouts have antioxidant and anti-free radical effects. A study from 2012 also found that pre-germ brown rice extract also prevented conditions for Alzheimer’s in brain cells.

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Other research has shown that sprout to have effects upon brain processing. There was even one study showing that brown rice germinated sprouts helped ameliorate depression-like activity in mice. Another found that germinated brown rice reduced learning and memory problems in mice.

But we can put this together with the significant levels of GABA within brown rice sprouts. Thus we find that brown rice sprouts are quite simply, good brain foods.

I should add that other research has found that sprouts of different kinds will produce significant nutrients and healing compounds – often at much greater levels than the unsprouted food.

How to sprout brown rice

Sprouting brown rice fairly simple. Any variety of brown rice will work, except for wild rice – which is typically cut during processing. So wild rice will typically not sprout. Also, white rice cannot be sprouted, because the germ has been removed.

A half-cup of uncooked brown rice in a quart jar should be soaked in water overnight – or a good 12 hours. A mesh cloth should be wrapped over the top to keep out the bugs.

Then the water should be drained. The jar should be inverted to drain the water. Then set inverted at an angle allowing air to circulate through the jar and rice.

Rinse the sprouts and drain the water again two or three times a day for the next couple-three days. Tiny sprouts should start showing on the rice grains. The sprouts can then be eaten or mixed in salads or soups or even ground into flour. They will keep in the fridge for a day or two, as long as they are kept dry.

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Nur Hanisah Azmi, Maznah Ismail, Norsharina Ismail, Mustapha Umar Imam, Noorjahan Banu Mohammed Alitheen, and Maizaton Atmadini Abdullah, Germinated Brown Rice Alters Aβ(1-42) Aggregation and Modulates Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Genes in Differentiated Human SH-SY5Y Cells, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 153684, 12 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/153684

Mamiya T, Kise M, Morikawa K, Aoto H, Ukai M, Noda Y. Effects of pre-germinated brown rice on depression-like behavior in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007 Jan;86(1):62-7.

T. Mamiya, T. Asanuma, M. Kise et al. Effects of pre-germinated brown rice on β-amyloid protein-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 27, no. 7, pp. 1041–1045, 2004.

Soi-ampornkul, Rungtip et al. Potent antioxidant and anti-apoptotic activity of pre-germinated brown rice extract against hydrogen peroxide in neuronal SK-N-SH cells: A model of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association , Volume 8 , Issue 4 , P503. DOI:


  • Case Adams, Naturopath

    California Naturopath, Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact: case(at)caseadams(dot)com.

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