By Aly Walansky
Updated March 16, 2016
© Tim Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo

Science has just given us a great excuse to pour even more maple syrup on our waffles at brunch this weekend.

At the recent annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, research was presented that maple syrup may help protect our brains from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases. Note: this is real maple syrup – the kind that comes from a tree – not the sugar syrup neatly packaged with that beloved Aunt.

The findings discovered that maple syrup helps keep beta-amyloid from sticking together or becoming tangled in our brain. This clumping has been known to be an indicator of Alzheimer’s.

“If pure maple syrup can in deed stop the accumulation of neurofibrillary plaques and tangles from misfolded beta-amyloid and tau peptides in the human body, this would potentially be neuroprotective. These accumulations are well known to cause degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease,” says Clifford Segil, DO, neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. “The problem in 2016 is that every pharmaceutical therapy claims to have the same positive effects as this study claims about maple syrup. However, at this point, it has not been proven to protect or improve patients with neurodegenerative diseases.”

As with all complex diseases, there are a lot of factors that go into prevention and treatment, but if there’s even a chance that maple syrup on our pancakes will offer protection, we’re happy to pile it on.