American researchers have recently discovered that a diet rich with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) - a key component of the Mediterranean Diet - can help forestall off memory loss and cognitive decline, protecting the brain from related conditions such as:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Memory loss
Extra Virgin Olive Oil could in fact be considered as a viable therapeutic opportunity for preventing or halting Alzheimer's disease.
These findings are titled "Extra-virgin olive oils improve cognition and neuropathology in 3xTg mice: role for autophagy" was published in the online journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology as a case study by researchers from Philadelphia's Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, led by Domenico Pratico (a professor of Pharmacology and Microbiology and Center for Translational Medicine).
The study also sought to determine the impact of daily Extra Virgin Olive Oil consumption on Alzheimer's Disease incidence. It did this by investigating the essential effect of the oil on Alzheimer's disease phenotypes found in modified mice.
Recent studies have shown that Extra Virgin Olive Oil's phenolic compounds, antioxidant properties, and brain protection can help prevent both age-related and disease-associated brain oxidation in mice. However, these studies only focused on one aspect of the Alzheimer disease phenotype.
Researchers used genetically engineered mice to show the main characteristics of Alzheimer's Disease.
- Memory impairment
- Amyloid plaque buildup
- Neurofibrillary tangles
Amyloid plaque is a form of protein buildup in excess in the brain. This causes a buildup of neurons. Neurofibrillary Tangles are caused by a protein called tau getting twisted. It prevents the brain from transporting essential nutrients and results in brain cell death.
The mice were split into two groups: one was given a standard diet, the other was given a diet with extra virgin olive oil from the Apulia region. This olive oil was chosen because it adhered to strict quality standards set by researchers.
After six months, the mice were subject to a variety of cognitive performance tests.
As a result, researchers discovered that the mice on the Extra Virgin Olive Oil rich diet displayed restored working and spatial memory in comparison to their baseline performance. It was also found that mice who ate Extra Virgin Olive Oil-rich diets had significantly lower peptide levels.
It was also shown to reduce tau phosphorylation, pathology and inflammation in the brains and improve neuroinflammation.
As all the above are major characteristics of the Alzheimer's disease phenotype, the study easily and positively demonstrated that EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) had a beneficial influence, with researchers concluding that the study provides "support to the positive cross-sectional and longitudinal data on this component of the Mediterranean diet, and most crucially the biological rationale to the hypothesis that Extra Virgin Olive Oil could be considered as a viable therapeutic opportunity for preventing or halting Alzheimer's disease."