An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is a horrible fate with no known cure.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that eats away at memory and eventually other mental functions. In later stages, people lose the ability to speak, dress themselves, and even swallow.
But, it turns out, we already have the power to slow the process of Alzheimer’s.
In our bodies, we have a fantastic “trash disposal” system. It’s called autophagy, which comes from a Greek word meaning “self-devouring.”
Your cells find debris that needs to be broken down and use the autophagy process to move those bits of trash to the proper place for destruction. Trash include proteins that don’t work correctly, useless byproducts of normal processes, or external bits that get into the system.
Here’s the thing… researchers now think Alzheimer’s starts when your brain’s autophagy system stops working.
And a brand-new study out of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University may have just proved it.
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis has three defining characteristics…
1) Memory impairment
2) Plaque buildup in the brain tissue
3) “Tangles” of phosphorylated tau proteins
Both the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles can be seen on medical scans.These are the defining traits of Alzheimer’s instead of less severe cases of dementia.
Researchers at Lewis Katz bred mice to have the three key characteristics of Alzheimer’s. Then they added extra virgin olive oil to the food of half the mice.
The mice who ate the olive oil every day outperformed the mice who didn’t eat it on cognitive tests as they grew older. What’s more, the mice with olive oil in their diets had healthier nerve cells with better function.
Finally, the researchers were excited to discover these mice had higher autophagy activation in their nerve cells. Lead author Dr. Domenico Praticò explained this resulted in lower levels of both the plaques and the tangles seen in Alzheimer’s.
Olive oil, particularly the extra virgin kind, is a healthy monounsaturated fat.
Many diseases of aging include increased levels of oxidative injury from too many free radicals (see our essay on this here).
Olive oil’s proven ability to reduce inflammation and provide protection from oxidative stress means we could see even more health benefits.
In fact, past studies have seen that the antioxidants in olive oil act as protective agents against plaques and tau protein buildup.
As a component of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil could be why so many benefits accompany that eating plan. In the past, I’ve written extensively on these benefits… Olive oil lowers blood pressure, fights erectile dysfunction, and helps you live longer.
And we already know a few other tricks to help fight back against Alzheimer’s. A few tips to protect yourself from Alzheimer’s include the following (click on each one to see my essay on the subject)…
We’re hopeful that research continues into the role autophagy plays in this devastating disease. Olive oil may not be a cure, but its protective nature already makes it a staple in our diet… We hope you add it to your meals, too.
- Something different: Eat spaghetti, become Einstein?
Here’s to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
June 27, 2017