New research suggests that oleocanthal found in olive oil may possess the ability to help the body rid itself of amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s Disease (the brain-degenerative disease). Amyloid plaques are thought to build up over time and cause irrevocable damage. A research team from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, led by Amal Kaddoumi, gave groups of mice oleocanthal from olive oil and found a consistent pattern of producing two proteins and key enzymes that are believed to be critical in the removal amyloid plaques, thereby preventing Alzheimer’s from occurring in the first place.
The team stated: “We provide in vitro and in vivo evidence for the potential of oleocanthal to enhance beta-amyloid clearance from the brain via up-regulation of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and LDL lipoprotein receptor related protein-1 (LRP1), major beta-amyloid transport proteins, at the blood-brain barrier.”
While traditionally noted for its high concentration of healthful monounsaturated fats, this research suggests that oleocanthal may be the actual protective agent. Researchers noted the results with certainty: “Our results demonstrated significant increase in beta-amyloid degradation as a result of the up-regulation of AB degrading enzymes following oleocanthal treatment,” they said.
Abuznait, et al. (2013). Olive-Oil Derived Oleocanthal Enhances B-Amyloid Clearance as a Potential Neuroprotective Mechanism Against Alzheimer’s Disease. Chemical Neuroscience.More
Italian researchers examined the magnesium status of people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They found those with low-ionized magnesium levels had the most impaired cognitive function compared to a control group.
The magnesium “ion test” in the study showed low magnesium levels in AD, whereas serum total magnesium levels didn’t show a deficiency. “This serves to confirm that magnesium deficiency overexcites the brain’s neurons and results in less coherence and reduced cognitive function,” said Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, magnesium expert and medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association.
“The study also validates the fact that serum magnesium levels are a poor way to diagnose magnesium deficiency and that magnesium ion testing is a far more valid way of testing for magnesium deficiency,” she added. “Magnesium in the blood does not correlate with the amount of magnesium in other parts of your body.”
Magnesium deficiency/depletion may be more common than we think. Check your supplements! It is associated with short- and long-term memory.
Magnesium Research 24(3):115-121, 2011More
We’ve all heard the old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but did you ever think there was any truth to it?
Apples may really have huge health benefits especially on Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Dr. Thomas Shea and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts did a clinical trial that shows apple juice fights AD. in as little as one month.
Dr. Shea’s research team studied 21 patients between the ages of 72 to 93. Each of the patients was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe AD. He gave them two four-ounce glasses of apple juice each day for a month. After just 30 days, his team noted major changes in mood and behavior. Changes included improvement in anxiety, depression and delusion.
People receiving apple juice were calmer, less agitated, and at the end of the day, had a better quality of life.
His findings were published in the June 2010 issue of the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.
Two glasses of apple juice each day for 30 days produced less “beta amyloid” – the protein fragment which forms “senile plaques” – which are often found in the brains of people with AD.
“Apple juice keep[s] one’s mind functioning at its best,” says Dr. Shea. “It may delay key aspects of AD.”
His team has also showed that apple juice increases the production of a brain transmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps slow the mental decline of people with AD. In that same study, he investigated whether apple juice could also improve memory. He put mice through a series of memory and learning maze tests. The mice who drank apple juice performed better on the memory tests.
“The study show[ed] that consumption of apple juice can help reduce problems associated with memory loss,” concluded Dr. Shea.
In another study by Dr. Larson he concluded, (observing 2,000 people over the course of 10 years) that people who drink fruit juice three times a week reduced the risk of AD by a whopping 76 percent. People who drank it twice a week reduced their risk by 16 percent.
Surprisingly, the best benefits came from drinking fruit juice, as opposed to whole fruit. Dr. Larson theorizes this is because of the higher antioxidant quota in juice. According to him, all-natural fruit juice uses the core, seeds and skin of the fruit. These are the parts of the fruit that have the highest concentration of natural antioxidants. It’s those parts that people usually skip – and thus miss the best antioxidant benefits.
He also notes that fruit juice contains more antioxidants than vitamin C or E supplements.
“The brain accumulates damage due to oxidation as we age,” says Dr. Larson. “If you protect the brain from that damage, you protect the person from AD.”
Team member Dr. Qi Dai says “drinking fruit juices was [linked] with a decreased risk of AD. These findings suggest that fruit juices play an important role in delaying AD.”
It’s important to note that the team used all-natural, pure fruit juices. Those juices shouldn’t be confused with high-sugar, “fruit” beverages, which only include a limited percentage of actual fruit juice.More
A new Alzheimer’s study that used MRI scans was recently conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Researchers recruited more than 400 older adult subjects–some with Alzheimer’s, some with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and some with no signs of dementia. Physical activity was monitored, and each patient underwent two MRI brain scans approximately 10 years apart. In a press release, the study’s lead author, Cyrus Raji, Ph.D., described the results: “We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer’s and MCI, especially in areas of the brain’s key memory and learning centers.”
Mental exam scores dropped an average of five points over five years among patients with cognitive impairment who were physically inactive. But scores for physically active patients dropped only one point on average. Dr. Raji also noted that patients who walked five miles per week showed slower decline in memory loss over five years. There was also good news for the healthy, dementia-free subjects. Those who walked at least six miles per week maintained normal brain volume and significantly reduced risk of cognitive decline. Dr. Raji: “Volume is a vital sign for the brain. When it decreases, that means brain cells are dying. But when it remains higher, brain health is being maintained.”
Whenever someone asks me what I want as a gift, I usually remember to say more IQ points. Key take away – stay active to help keep the brain healthier longer.More
Question: Jeff, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease(AD). Any suggestions? Answer: Beta-amyloid protein creates plaque that weakens nerve cell function in the brain.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take that may reduce risk of amyloid buildup…
Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake
Increase vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid intake (these vitamins reduce homocysteine, which has been linked to amyloid formation)
Use Supplementary curcumin (antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties are believed to break up amyloid)
Increase intake of EGCG (a green tea flavonoid)