Health

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Consumption Can Protect Against Dementia

Tests on lab mice demonstrated that extra virgin olive oil delays the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Dec. 11, 2019
By Isabel Putinja

Recent News

A new study by researchers at Tem­ple Uni­ver­sity has demon­strated that con­sum­ing extra vir­gin olive oil in early adult­hood can pro­tect against demen­tia.

The results of the new research pub­lished on Novem­ber 24, 2019 in the jour­nal Aging Cell reveal that extra vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion delays the onset of cog­ni­tive impair­ment and demen­tia by slow­ing down a group of dis­eases known as tau­pathies.

The real­iza­tion that extra vir­gin olive oil can pro­tect the brain against dif­fer­ent forms of demen­tia gives us an oppor­tu­nity to learn more about the mech­a­nisms through which it acts to sup­port brain health.- Dr Domenico Prat­icò, direc­tor of the Alzheimer’s Cen­ter at Tem­ple Uni­ver­sity

This type of men­tal decline occurs when a pro­tein called tau accu­mu­lates in the brain and results in a decline in cog­ni­tive func­tion known as tauopa­thy, or fron­totem­po­ral demen­tia.

The research team was made up of five sci­en­tists from Tem­ple University’s Lewis Katz School of Med­i­cine and the Depart­ment of Medico-Surgical Sci­ences and Biotech­nol­ogy at Sapienza Uni­ver­sity of Rome.

See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits

As part of the study Extra vir­gin olive oil improves synap­tic activ­ity, short-term plas­tic­ity, mem­ory, and neu­ropathol­ogy in a tauopa­thy model,” the researchers fed extra vir­gin olive oil to a group of lab mice engi­neered to develop demen­tia and of an age that would be com­pa­ra­ble to 30 or 40 years in humans.

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They found that the mice who were fed the olive oil diet were 60 per­cent less likely to develop tau deposits in the brain com­pared to those who were not given extra vir­gin olive oil. The same mice also showed improved per­for­mance on mem­ory and learn­ing tests.

The extra vir­gin olive oil used to feed the lab mice was from the Apu­lia region of Italy with a total polyphe­nol count of 253 mil­ligram per kilo­gram, while lev­els of α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol (forms of Vit­a­min E) were mea­sured at 381 mil­ligram per kilo­gram and 23 mil­ligram per kilo­gram, respec­tively, through chem­i­cal analy­sis.

The study points out that there has been increas­ing evi­dence in recent years of the ben­e­fits of con­sum­ing extra vir­gin olive oil for brain health and low­er­ing the risks of Alzheimer’s dis­ease, cog­ni­tive impair­ment, and demen­tia.

Pre­vi­ous research con­ducted by inves­ti­ga­tors at the same school of med­i­cine had con­cluded that con­sump­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil pre­vents mem­ory loss and pro­tects against Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Extra vir­gin olive oil has been a part of the human diet for a very long time and has many ben­e­fits for health, for rea­sons that we do not yet fully under­stand,” said Dr Domenico Prat­icò, direc­tor of the Alzheimer’s Cen­ter at Tem­ple University’s Lewis Katz School of Med­i­cine and one of the researchers.

The real­iza­tion that extra vir­gin olive oil can pro­tect the brain against dif­fer­ent forms of demen­tia gives us an oppor­tu­nity to learn more about the mech­a­nisms through which it acts to sup­port brain health,” he added. We are par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in know­ing whether extra vir­gin olive oil can reverse tau dam­age and ulti­mately treat tauopa­thy in older mice.”

The results of this study sug­gest that thanks to its ben­e­fi­cial prop­er­ties – includ­ing extra vir­gin olive oil’s high polyphe­nol con­tent, which acts as an antiox­i­dant – its con­sump­tion in early adult­hood can limit cog­ni­tive decline and the onset of age-related ill­nesses, includ­ing demen­tia.





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