This diet may reduce Alzheimer’s risk by changing gut bacteria

In a new study, researchers found that following a certain type of diet could affect the gut microbiome and help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gut microbiome is the good and bad bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract.

The research was conducted by a team at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

In a small pilot study, the researchers identified several distinct gut microbiome signatures – the chemicals produced by bacteria – in 11 participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but not in 6 people with normal cognition.

The team found that these bacterial chemicals correlated with higher levels of markers of Alzheimer’s disease in the people with MCI.

The study also showed that a modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet (a low-fat, higher carbohydrate diet) produced changes in the gut microbiome and its metabolites that correlated with reduced levels of Alzheimer’s markers.

The team says the links among the gut microbiome, diet, and neurodegenerative diseases has recently received considerable attention.

The current study suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to specific changes in gut bacteria and that a type of ketogenic Mediterranean diet can affect the microbiome in ways that could impact the development of dementia.

The study’s limitations include the subject group’s size, which also accounts for the lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, and age.

The team says the new findings provide important information that future interventional and clinical studies can be based on.

Determining the specific role these gut microbiome signatures have in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease could lead to novel nutritional and therapeutic approaches that would be effective against the disease.

One author of the study is Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular medicine.

The study is published in EBioMedicine, a journal published by The Lancet.

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