Researchers ID Ten Key Compounds In EVOO That Could Treat Dementia
Researchers have used a machine learning algorithm to identify ten key compounds in extra virgin olive oil that act like pharmaceutical treatments for dementia.
In the study published in Human Genomics, researchers identified ten phytochemicals in extra virgin olive oil that appear to act similarly to known pharmaceutical agents against plaque build-up in the brain.
The findings, from Yale School of Public Health, Imperial College London and the University of Athens, reported in The Olive Oil Times, said these compounds could be the subjects of future clinical studies.
“Our study, which integrates artificial intelligence, analytical chemistry, and omics studies into a unique framework, provides fresh perspectives on how extra virgin olive oil might contribute to the prevention and or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”Vasilis Vasiliou, the chair of Yale School of Public Health’s environmental health sciences department.
How Can Extra Virgin Olive Oil Compounds Slow Causes Of Alzheimer’s?
As explained in The Olive Oil Times, the abnormal build-up of protein in and around the brain is one of the main characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. Separate research predicts the rates of dementia will triple by 2050 due to the rising number of older people and diet and lifestyle choices that accelerate the disease.
Researchers in the Human Genomics study identified 67 bioactive chemicals in extra virgin olive oil that could potentially slow the causes and mitigate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Using the machine learning algorithm, they simulated how the compounds might disrupt the accumulation of plaque associated with the disease.
Researchers described the study as unique because it uses a machine learning tool to process network structures common in biological data.
Of the ten phytochemicals identified in the study – quercetin, genistein, luteolin, palmitoleate, stearic acid, apigenin, epicatechin, kaempferol, squalene and daidzein – researchers determined that quercetin had the highest likelihood of acting similarly to current medications against Alzheimer’s disease.
While the researchers believe these findings are highly relevant to highlighting the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, they acknowledged the study’s limitations.
The researchers said the algorithm only identified extra virgin olive oil chemical compounds that appear to impact the development of proteins but could not gauge their effectiveness.
Furthermore, the algorithm was trained only using approved Alzheimer’s medication in the United States, meaning other potentially effective chemicals in extra virgin olive oil may not be identified.
“It is only through the conduct of such studies that the predictive utility of our machine learning approach will be validated. While the results of the present study shed light on how extra virgin olive oil may help treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, the same approach may be applied to identify extra virgin olive oil phytochemicals (or other food constituents) that treat other diseases, such as dementia, hypertension or dyslipidemia.”Yale School of Public Health, Imperial College London and the University of Athens
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, The Mediterranean Diet And Brain Health
Extra virgin olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, has been found to contain compounds that may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This latest study adds to recent research which found that oleocanthal, a compound found in extra virgin olive oil, may be able to remove toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s from the brain.
Meanwhile, oleuropein has been found to improve cognitive performance and memory in both animals and humans.
This is significant because these toxic proteins can lead to inflammation and damage in the brain, contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, other compounds found in extra virgin olive oil have shown to be beneficial for brain health and function. While more research is needed, incorporating this healthy oil into your diet may be a simple way to possibly decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientific research in March from Edinburgh University, has shown that consuming lower amounts of read meat and following the principles of Mediterranean cuisine correlated with higher scores in memory and thinking tests in the over 70s.
Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and nuts.
These latest findings suggest that this primarily plant-based diet may have benefits for cognitive function as we get older.
Researchers involved in the study tested the thinking skills of more than 500 people aged 79 and without dementia. The participants completed tests of problem solving, thinking speed, memory and word knowledge, as well as a questionnaire about their eating habits during the previous year.
More than 350 of the group also underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan to gain insights into their brain structure. The team used statistical models to look for associations between a person’s diet and their thinking skills and brain health in later life.
The findings show that, in general, people who most closely adhered to a Mediterranean diet had the highest cognitive function scores, even when accounting for other factors, including childhood IQ, smoking, physical activity and health factors. Dr Janie Corley, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said: “Eating more green leafy vegetables and cutting down on red meat might be two