3. Olive oil may help to protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease
A study has shown that consuming extra-virgin olive oil helps in protecting memory and learning ability and reducing classic markers of Alzheimer’s disease, namely neurofibrillary tangle and amyloid-beta plaque formation in the brain.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
The mechanisms that underlie extra-virgin olive oil’s protective effects were also identified. It was found that olive oil consumption helps reduce brain inflammation and also activates autophagy, a process by which intracellular toxins and debris like tau tangles and amyloid plaques are broken down and cleared out by cells.
A recognized Alzheimer’s disease mouse model was made use of to examine the dementia and extra-virgin olive oil relationship. Referred to as a triple transgenic model, the mice develop 3 key Alzheimer’s characteristics: neurofibrillary tangles, amyloid plagues, and memory impairment.
The mice were divided into 2 groups, 1 that was given an extra-virgin olive oil-enriched chow diet and 1 that was given the regular chow diet with no extra-virgin olive oil. When the animals were 6 months old, the researchers introduced the olive oil into the diet, before Alzheimer’s symptoms start appearing in the mice.
There wasn’t any difference between the 2 groups of mice in overall appearance. The animals on the diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil however performed significantly better at 9 months old and 12 months old on tests made for evaluating learning abilities, spatial memory, and working memory.
Brain cells from mice consuming the extra-virgin olive oil-enriched diets had higher autophagy levels and reduced levels of phosphorylated tau and amyloid plaques. Phosphorylated tau is responsible for the neurofibrillary tangles that are believed to contribute to the dysfunction of nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for Alzheimer’s memory symptoms.
Analyses of brain tissue taken from both mice groups revealed significant differences in appearance and function of nerve cells.