Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Cognitive Impairment

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A New Study Shows The Benefits Of High-Phenolic Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Older Adults With Cognitive Impairment.

Cognitive Thinking
Cognitive Thinking & The effects Of Alzheimer’s

Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a condition in which people have memory problems more severe than normal for their age and education, but not serious enough to affect daily life. Another form of MCI, non-amnestic MCI, is characterized by impaired thinking skills other than memory, such as trouble planning and organizing or poor judgment.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, long-term studies suggest that 10 to 20 percent of people aged 65 and older may have MCI. Study investigators have also found that participants with amnestic MCI had more than two times (2.17) greater risk of death. Non-amnestic MCI did not appear to increase mortality risk. The risk of death among participants with dementia was more than three times greater (3.26) than that of those who were cognitively normal.

Amnestic MCI is usually a prodromal condition of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While there is no treatment for MCI and symptomatic only treatment for AD, the global effort against cognitive disorders is focused on early detection and management of AD at the stage of aMCI.

A new study has now shown that the long-term daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil could benefit elderly people with cognitive impairments even more than previously thought.

Scientists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders have succeeded in making the shift to MCI therapy via robust natural remedies that can be used in order to forestall cognitive deterioration. The scientists decided to investigate how extra virgin olive oil could play a role in mitigating or arresting the development of amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, tested the effects of high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil against moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil and the Mediterranean diet. Until now, there is no other study which has examined in such a detailed manner the effects of extra virgin olive oil in elders with amnestic mild cognitive impairment as an effective solution.

The researchers found that high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil served as a natural therapeutic pharmaceutical compound for older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, which is considered a prodromal condition to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research on Mediterrean Diet & effects on Cognitive Impairment

Previous studies have shown the therapeutic effects of following a Mediterranean diet on improving cognitive functions while decreasing the risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment progressing to Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers conducted a randomized prospective study so as to examine the high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil and moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil versus the Mediterranean diet in MCI. Genetic predisposition (Polymorphism in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is a major genetic risk determinant of late-onset Alzheimer disease) to Alzheimer’s disease was tested and an extensive neuropsychological examination was administered at baseline and after 12 months.

Each participant was randomized and assigned one of three groups. Group 1 received the high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil (50 mL/day); Group 2 received the moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil (50 mL/day), and 3) Group 3 received only the Mediterranean diet  instructions.

The results of the study demonstrated that participants following an high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil  variation of the Mediterranean diet fared better in the 12-month follow-up performance in almost all cognitive domains of the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale-cognitive subscale, which is a scale used to understand the level of cognitive impairment caused by the disease, than adherents to the other two diets. Those patients also fared better with digit span, which focuses on the working memory activity and letter fluency.

Furthermore, adherents to the moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil variation of the Mediterranean diet fared better on the same cognitive tests than participants in the control group, who followed a standard Mediterranean diet. “The results of this study suggest that the long-term consumption of an extra virgin olive oil-containing diet starting at an early age provides a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease and its related disorder cerebral amyloid angiopathy,” the researchers wrote. 

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