This diet may decrease Alzheimer’s risk by changing your gut

The gut microbiome is the good and bad bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract. They play an important role in our health.

In a recent study from Wake Forest School of Medicine, researchers found that following a modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet (a low-fat, higher carbohydrate diet) could affect the gut microbiome and help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is published in EBioMedicine, a journal published by The Lancet. One author is Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., an assistant professor of molecular medicine.

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

In the study, the team 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 were linked to higher levels of markers of Alzheimer’s disease in the people with MCI.

They also showed that a modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet produced changes in the gut microbiome and its metabolites that correlated with reduced levels of Alzheimer’s markers.

The team says 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 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.

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