Extra virgin olive oil can protect against Alzheimer's and prevent cognitive decline
A so-called Mediterranean diet is very healthy and can even increase human life expectancy, prevent heart diseases and keep blood sugar levels at a healthy level. Researchers have now found that using extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and thus prevents cognitive decline.
The researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) found that extra virgin olive oil reduced the risk of Alzheimer's. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology".
Extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of dementia
Previous studies have shown that taking extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of developing dementia. The oil protects the memory and maintains the ability to learn. Consumption also stops the formation of so-called amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the human brain, the experts say.
Doctors examine the Mediterranean diet
The advantages of the Mediterranean diet have already been extensively studied. The current study has now found that it is not the fruit and vegetable component of the Mediterranean diet that protects brain health, but the olive oil used in the diet that leads to the identified benefits, explains Professor Domenico Pratico from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.
What is autophagy?
The researchers used a model with mice for their study. The scientists examined certain processes in the experimental animals. A process called autophagy is responsible for breaking down defective proteins or damaged cell organelles. So-called amyloid plaques and tau tangles, both characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, are also affected by the process.
Effects of consuming extra virgin olive oil
In their experiment, the researchers fed the mice with extra virgin olive oil. This type of diet increased the activity of so-called autophagy. The process significantly reduced the amount of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau proteins, the researchers explain.
Experimental animals had an improved memory due to their diet
It was also found that mice performed better on various tests by eating extra virgin olive oil. These concerned the work of memory, spatial memory and the ability to learn.
Consumption of extra virgin olive oil led to a synaptic integrity
At the end of the study, the brain analysis of the mice showed that the consumption of extra virgin olive oil leads to a so-called synaptic integrity. This refers to connections between the brain's nerve cells. Such a synaptic integrity was lacking in mice if they did not eat olive oil. (as)