– Extra virgin olive oil prevents abnormal brain tangle formation to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (Natural News, June 10, 2013):
The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia worldwide currently totals 30 million, with new cases expected to triple by the year 2050. What has changed over the past 50 years to account for such an epidemic rise in this once extremely rare disease, now being diagnosed more increasingly in younger individuals under the age of 40? The most obvious answer is found with an examination of the fast-paced, processed diet eaten by a growing number of people that replaces natural monounsaturated fats with hydrogenated trans-fats that compete for placement in cell walls.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the essential fat used as a base fat in the healthy Mediterranean diet has been associated with cardiovascular and brain health in prior research studies, yet the actual functional mechanisms have been largely misunderstood. A team of researchers from the University of Louisiana, College of Pharmacy report the results of their work in the journal, ACS Chemical Neuroscience to explain how consumption of EVOO helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Extra virgin olive oil boosts production of enzymes that break amyloid brain tangles
Researchers studied the effect of one active component of olive oil that helps shuttle the abnormal AD proteins out of the brain. Prior work has concluded that the health benefits of olive oil are attributable to the high concentration of monounsaturated fats, but the research team found that the actual protective agent might be a substance called oleocanthal, which helps to protect nerve cells from the kind of damage that occurs in AD.
Lead research author, Dr. Amal Kaddoumi and his team constructed a study using a mouse model to determine whether oleocanthal helps decrease the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain. Scientists tested the effects of oleocanthal in the brains and cultured brain cells of laboratory mice and found a consistent pattern in which the compound boosted production of two proteins and key enzymes believed to be critical in removing amyloid-beta from the brain.
The authors concluded “Extra-virgin olive oil-derived oleocanthal associated with the consumption of Mediterranean diet has the potential to reduce the risk of AD or related neurodegenerative dementias.” Nutrition scientists are now one step closer to understanding the health-promoting benefits of olive oil as this research confirms how small dietary lifestyle modifications help to prevent chronic illness. It is important to note that this study used cold-pressed EVOO, and not ‘light’ olive oil that has been refined to reduce the critical polyphenols that characterize the oil. Incorporate one to two tablespoons of EVOO daily to halt Alzheimer’s disease progression it its tracks.
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