In a new study, researchers found a high-fat, high-sugar diet could make the brain age faster, and endurance exercise such as running could help protect against the harmful effect.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of West Florida.
Recent research has suggested that metabolic disorders, like obesity and type 2 diabetes, can contribute to brain aging (neuronal senescence), which is often linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
While regular endurance exercise (e.g., running) provides numerous health benefits, its potential protection against neuronal senescence in the face of metabolic disorders has not yet been identified.
In this study, the team fed mice with a high-fat and sugar (fructose) diet for 12 weeks until obesity and type 2 diabetes were developed.
Upon confirmation of these metabolic disorders, the mice were placed on a treadmill running exercise program for 13 weeks while continuing on the same diet.
Development of obesity and type 2 diabetes caused inflammation, oxidative stress and advanced neuronal senescence in the hippocampus (a memory-control center) of the brain.
On the contrary, endurance exercise remarkably restored blood glucose levels along with weight loss and prevented adverse neuronal anomalies and senescence.
These findings suggest that regular running exercise might prevent unfavorable brain aging induced by metabolic disorders.
The lead author of the study is Yongchul Jang, University of West Florida.
The study is published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
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