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High Fat Diets May Play A Role in Alzheimer's!

High Fat and Low Omega-3s Linked to Increase in Brain Markers for Alzheimer's.

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Researchers at Université Laval conducting a study showed that the main neurological brain markers for Alzheimer's disease are increased in the brains of mice who were fed a diet rich in animal fat and poor in omega-3s.

To simulate the human brain more closely, the researchers genetically altered mice to produce two proteins which are found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients called tau proteins and amyloid-beta proteins. Tau proteins prevent nerve cells in the brain (called neurons) from functioning correctly, while amyloid-beta proteins have been strongly linked to the formation of abnormal deposits in the brain called senile plaques. The mice that were genetically altered received either a regular diet or a high-fat diet low in omega-3 fatty acids for nine months.

The mice that ate the high-fat diets had 1.5 times more tau protein and 8.7 times more amyloid-beta protein than mice in the control group. The high-fat diet also decreased levels of drebrin protein in the brain, which is another sign of Alzheimer's disease.2

"Metabolic changes induced by such a diet could affect the inflammatory response in the brain," suggests study co-author Carl Julien to explain the link between fat consumption and Alzheimer's.1

 

In most Western countries, diets are typically rich in saturated fats and poor in omega-3s. "Our findings lead us to believe that a diet containing more omega-3s and less saturated fat could prevent the development of Alzheimer's, at the very least among people genetically predisposed to the disease," comments Dr. Calon. "We cannot state with any certainty that what we have observed among transgenic mice also occurs in humans, but there is no harm in eating less fat and more omega-3s," concludes the researcher.3

Some of the most recent research indicates that taking steps to improve heart health, such as losing weight, exercising and controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol in addition to taking supplemental Omega 3's, may also help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

References:

1. Julien C, Tremblay C, Phivilay A, et al. High-fat diet aggravates amyloid-beta and tau pathologies in the 3xTg-AD mouse model. Neurobiol Aging. 2008 Oct 14.
2.  Natural Standard, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18926603
3. Université Laval (2008, October 31). High-fat Diet Could Promote Development Of Alzheimer's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028103107.htm

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