A new study Auburn University has found that consuming extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) may have positive effects on people with mild cognitive impairment.
The findings suggest that the compounds found in olive oil can have a positive impact on brain health and improve the blood-brain barrier.
The study included 25 participants experiencing mild cognitive impairment, who consumed 30 milliliters of olive oil, about three tablespoons, per day for six months.
Thirteen people consumed extra virgin olive oil, while the remaining 12 consumed refined olive oil, which had been purified of phenols.
EVOO is rich in phenols, a class of organic compounds, while ROO has been purified of phenols.
The participants did several tests before and after consuming olive oil, including MRI scans, cognitive tests, and blood analysis for biomarkers related to Alzheimer’s disease.
The team found that both EVOO and ROO improved cognitive function and altered two major biomarkers related to Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid and tau phosphorylation.
This suggests that olive oil may change the processing and clearance of beta-amyloid, which can improve blood-brain barrier function and improve function and memory.
The researchers also found that EVOO improved the blood-brain barrier function and the functional connectivity between different brain areas, while ROO increased the functional brain activation to a memory task in brain regions involved in cognition.
This is important because the blood-brain barrier plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy brain by protecting the brain from exposure to blood-related neurotoxins and in the clearance of brain waste products.
Even with the need for further studies, the team is excited to see the results from her pilot study and what it could mean for those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive issues.
While the study used participants experiencing mild cognitive impairment, the team says next steps include a larger clinical trial that includes cognitively normal individuals.
Overall, this study suggests that adding olive oil to our diet could maintain a healthy brain and improve memory function.
Benefits of olive oil
Olive oil has been shown to have many health benefits, including:
Reducing the risk of heart disease: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been linked to lower levels of bad cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Improving brain function: The compounds found in olive oil have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory in older adults.
Reducing inflammation: Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Lowering the risk of stroke: Consuming olive oil has been linked to a reduced risk of stroke in older adults.
Promoting healthy digestion: Olive oil is a natural laxative and can help promote healthy digestion.
Improving skin health: Olive oil contains antioxidants and vitamins that can help improve skin health and reduce the signs of aging.
Protecting against certain cancers: The antioxidants found in olive oil have been shown to have anti-cancer properties and may help protect against certain types of cancer.
It’s important to note that the benefits of olive oil may vary depending on the type of olive oil consumed.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for example, is less processed and contains more phenols, a class of organic compounds, than refined olive oil (ROO). As such, EVOO may provide more health benefits than ROO.
It’s also important to consume olive oil in moderation, as it is high in calories and fat.
The American Heart Association recommends using olive oil in place of saturated and trans fats, but not as a replacement for other healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and extra-virgin olive oil could boost brain function.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
The study was conducted by Amal Kaddoumi et al and published in the journal Nutrients.
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