It’s obvious that Alzheimer’s is a diet and lifestyle disease. A Mediterranean-type diet, for instance, is known to be protective against dementia. If there was any doubt, a recent study has made it plain.
In a 4-week diet intervention study, healthy cognitively intact older adults who stuck to a low-saturated-fat, low-glycemic-index diet experienced decreases in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of ?-amyloid 42, a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease risk.
Interestingly, in the study it was shown that, in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, the healthy diet had the opposite effect, raising CSF levels of this protein.
However that is NOT bad. It means the beta amyloid is coming unstuck from the brain and re-appearing in the CSF.
The conclusion from the study was pretty clear: a healthy diet that contains a lot of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats would be important for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or conditions that put them at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
In their paper, the researchers say their study provides “converging support” for recent epidemiologic investigations of dietary patterns and Alzheimer’s disease risk.
The results, they conclude, support further investigation into the “possibility that consumption of a diet high in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates may contribute to pathologic processes in the brain that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while a diet low in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates may offer protection against dementia and enhance brain health.”
Salad and fruit anyone? Note: you can take your fruit as wine.
[The study appears in the June 2011 issue of the Archives of Neurology]
Arch Neurol. 2011;68:743-752.]