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Can Alzheimer’s be Combated with a Lipid Based Diet?

Scientists have just completed a study in which they devised a number of lipid-based diets that aimed to both relieve the symptoms, and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. As we know, Alzheimer’s is the most common disease underlying the memory problems and dementia associated with old age. While there have been many attempts to find efficient treatments, so far scientists have only been able to develop drugs that alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s; they have been unable to find something with the ability to slow down the disease.

As a result of recent research findings, it’s now commonly accepted that our lifestyle and our dietary habits have a significant influence on both our mental health, and the progression of Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, a number of studies have suggested that a daily dose of fish oil can go a long way to staving off cognitive decline as we age.

Researchers tested the effects of fish oil and plant sterol stigmasterol in adult mouse models of Alzheimer’s

The project, which was funded by the EU, aimed to discover whether nutritional lipids could have a therapeutic and preventative impact on neuronal and cognitive performance during aging, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. By devising a number of lipid-based diets, which they hoped would slow down the progression and relieve the symptoms of the disease, the researchers were able to test the effects of fish oil and plant sterol stigmasterol on young adult mouse models of Alzheimer’s.

The mice were fed one of these diets for a period of 3 weeks, after which time the results were analysed. The researchers found that the mice fed diets containing these two lipids were able to reverse the decrease in responsiveness of receptors in the hippocampus (common in Alzheimer’s patients), in comparison to the mice fed diets without the fish oil and stigmasterol.

These findings suggest that a regular intake of fish oil may have a preventative effect on some of the key early changes that take place within the brains of people who go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. They also add weight to the suggestion that more attention should be paid to our diets if we want to give ourselves the best chance of keeping our brains healthy into old age.

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