Who doesn’t love a little extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) when cooking up a meal or in a salad. Good news for EVOO lovers, a new study reveals that it could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. The research suggested that EVOO could help actually prevent and potentially reverse, brain health and cognitive performance, when it came to experiments on mice. The study was conducted by Philadelphia researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.
Lead on the team Dr. Domenico Praticò, used a transgenic mouse model to review the effects of extra-virgin olive oil on the mice. The animals were modified genetically with three distinct Alzheimer’s characteristics: neurofibrillary tangles, memory impairment, and buildup of amyloid plaques.
The mice were separated into two groups, with one fed a diet of chow with EVOO and other received normal chow – minus the oil. The characteristics of Alzheimer’s developed early on in the mice, so the EVOO was added to chow when the rodents were six months old, before signs of the disease popped up.
The study team reviewed the cognitive abilities of the mice via tests around their learning skills, as well as working and spatial memory.
Medical News Today reported that when it comes to overall appearance, there were no noted differences as it relates to the two mice groups.
However, when the rodents hit between nine and 12 months of age, those that were on the EVOO chow did evaluate better when it came to cognitive tests. When the study team reviewed the rodent’s brain tissues, there was a remarkable difference when it came to the functioning and appearance of the nerve cells.
First and foremost, the rodent’s synapses, the parts of the brain that handle communication when it comes to neurons, was much more preserved within the EVOO group. Additionally, those mice fed the EVOO diet had a huge increase when it came to the autophagy activation within nerve cells. Autophagy is a procedure where nerve cells breakdown and eliminate toxic fragments that sometimes gather between cells. The enhancement of this process means a decrease when it comes to phosphorylated tau and amyloid plaques.
As Dr. Praticò noted, the above are exciting findings, as the synaptic integrity, autophagy activation, and memory, were conserved, the effects in the mice notably ‘destine’ to get Alzheimer’s was essentially tremendously reduced. He went on to say that this is a key finding, as it is suspected that a decrease in autophagy signifies the start of Alzheimer’s.