Thoughts on Better Aging

Olive Oil and Brain Health

September 4th, 2017

New research suggests extra-virgin olive oil can help preserve brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s.

You may already know that the Mediterranean diet—a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, beans, unrefined grains, and fish, with very little sugar or processed foods—has been linked to many health benefits, including better brain health and a lower risk of dementia. Now, new research has identified what may be the Mediterranean diet’s most powerful brain-protective ingredient: extra-virgin olive oil.

The research comes from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and was recently published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Using a testing method frequently used in Alzheimer’s research, the scientists investigated the relationship between extra-virgin olive oil and three key characteristics of Alzheimer’s. These characteristics or markers were: memory impairment, amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Both amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are believed to contribute to the degradation of neurons in the brain.

The researchers started with 6-month-old mice. Half of them were fed regular mouse chow, and half were fed a chow enriched with extra-virgin olive oil. At 9 and 12 months, the mice who had consumed oil olive demonstrated better working memory, spatial memory, and learning abilities compared to the other mice. Their brain tissue also had healthier nerve cells, thanks to the increased action of nerve cell autophagy, which reduced levels of amyloid plaques and of substances that cause neurofibrillary tangles.

It is important to note that so far, these findings only apply to young mice who had not yet developed any markers for Alzheimer’s. The researchers’ next project will involve testing older mice with plaques and tangles already present in their brains.

Now You May Wonder…

What If I Already Have Memory Problems?

Most people only begin investigating ways to preserve their brain health after they have already started suffering from memory loss. While the effectiveness of extra-virgin olive oil on improving brain health at this point is not yet proven, there are many other steps you can take. For example, you might:

Supplement anti-oxidants: Inflammation is a prime driver of cellular damage throughout the body, including in the brain. By eating more foods that contain anti-oxidants, and/or by supplementing powerful antioxidants like alpha lipoic acid or glutathione, you can reduce inflammation and protect your brain health.

Get hormone therapy: “Brain fog,” poor concentration, and issues with short-term memory are often linked to age-related hormonal change. If left unaddressed, these hormonal changes may also increase your risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Hormone therapy can correct imbalances and restore all your vital hormones to a healthy level. It is especially important to get treatment for low DHEA, since this hormone is vital for brain function.

Contact Renew Youth Today

If you would like to learn more about protecting and preserving your brain health as you age, please contact Renew Youth at 800-859-7511 to explore our treatment options.

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