In a new study, researchers found that eating garlic could help reduce memory problems caused by aging.
The finding may help develop a new treatment for memory loss in older people.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Louisville.
Garlic is a common food with many health benefits.
Previous research has found that the main ingredient in garlic is allicin, which has antibacterial, antivirus, and antioxidant properties.
In the current study, the team found eating garlic helps counteract age-related changes in gut bacteria. The change could help reduce memory problems.
According to the researchers, the benefit comes from allyl sulfide, a compound in garlic known for its health benefits.
Recent research has shown that gut microbiota is important in maintaining human health, but how the health effects linked to gut microbiota changes over time is unknown.
This is important because the diversity of the gut microbiota is diminished in elderly people, who have higher risks of developing a decline in memory and cognitive abilities.
In the study, the team aimed to better understand how changes in the gut microbiota relate to aging-associated cognitive decline
They gave oral allyl sulfide to mice that were 24 months old, which correlates to people between 56 and 69 years of age.
Then they compared these mice with 4- and 24-month-old mice that did not receive the dietary allyl sulfide supplement.
The results showed that the older mice receiving the garlic compound showed better memory performance and healthier gut bacteria than the older mice that didn’t receive the treatment.
In addition, in older mice, the spatial memory was also impaired if they did not receive the compound.
The team also found that mice receiving the garlic compound exhibited higher levels of NDNF gene expression.
Reduced NDNF in the brain may contribute to the cognitive decline.
In addition, eating allyl sulfide helped produce hydrogen sulfide gas, which can help prevent intestinal inflammation in the gut lumen.
The findings suggest that dietary allyl sulfide could help improve memory by restoring gut bacteria.
The researchers suggest that adding garlic into the daily diet may help people maintain healthy gut microorganisms and improve cognitive health.
Future work needs to explore the relationship between gut microbiota and cognitive decline.
It is also important to see how garlic can be used as a treatment in older people with memory problems.
The leaders of the study are Jyotirmaya Behera, Ph.D., and Neetu Tyagi, Ph.D., both from the University of Louisville.
The study was presented at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting.
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