New Drug Treatments For Alzheimers And Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Preventative approaches to tackling dementia for a longer and more fulfilling life.

Alzheimers And Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Alzheimers And Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • The new drugs for treating dementia, including Alzheimers are both groundbreaking and welcomed.
  • They tackle the root cause of this most debilitating disease by both preventing and removing the build-up of amyloid proteins.
  • Whilst approved by the FDA, they still need to undergo trials by NICE in the UK.
  • At around $26,500 per year for treatment, these drugs are expensive
  • Dietary studies have demonstrated that the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil attacks the same build-up of amyloid proteins
  • A healthy diet has been shown to deliver the same level of benefit as these new drugs
  • The cost of adopting a healthy diet, including a high quality extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is a fraction of the cost of these new drugs.


New Drugs To Tackle Alzheimers

We have reported many times on the extensive health benefits of the best olive oil – extra virgin olive oil, including its positive impact on brain health, reducing dementia risk and helping to combat diseases like Alzheimers:

We are therefore delighted with the recent announcements that new drugs have been developed to combat this most debilitating of chronic illnesses. Here in the UK, the most reported is Donanemab, developed by Eli Lilly & Co.

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, has called the Alzheimer’s disease drug donanemab a breakthrough , ‘a turning point’, as the full trial results were revealed. These full results support earlier trial results that suggested the breakthrough drug may slow down the progression of the disease.

Dementia is the biggest killer in the UK and over 60% of people living with dementia are thought to have Alzheimer’s disease. Treatments like donanemab are the first steps towards a future where Alzheimer’s disease could be considered a long-term condition alongside diabetes or asthma. People may have to live with it, but they could have treatments that allow them to effectively manage their symptoms and continue to live fulfilled lives.

Today’s full results support what we heard about donanemab back in May, that the drug is able to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by more than 20%. This study adds to the growing evidence that treating people as early as possible may be more beneficial, with the effects of donanemab greater in people who were at an earlier stage of the disease”. 

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society

This is a defining moment for dementia research. But new treatments could mean nothing if we don’t fix dementia diagnosis. We estimate around 720,000 people in the UK could potentially benefit from these emerging new Alzheimer’s disease treatments if they’re approved for use here. But the NHS is simply not ready to deliver them. Everyone living with dementia deserves access to a speedy, accurate diagnosis to get the support and treatments they need, now and in the future.” 

Kate Lee, Alzheimer’s Society CEO

Dr Oakley added: “Diagnosis will be key to the access of any new treatments. We can’t have a situation where treatments are approved for use in the UK but people aren’t diagnosed early or accurately enough to be eligible. We need early, and accurate, diagnoses available for everyone and the NHS ready to roll out treatments such as donanemab and lecanemab if and when they are approved in the UK. It’s also important to note that side effects did occur, although serious side effects only occurred in 1.6% of people receiving the drug.

What Does Donanemab Do?

Donanemab is an immunotherapy drug. This means it tells the body’s immune system to attack foreign cells or proteins and get rid of them so they can’t cause any more problems. In the case of donanemab, it teaches the immune cells to recognise and remove a protein called amyloid, which builds up in Alzheimer’s disease. 

The amyloid protein build-ups are thought to be toxic to brain cells, causing them to get sick and eventually die, leading to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Three-quarters of the people taking donanemab had amyloid successfully cleared from their brains by the end of the trial.

Donanemab slowed how fast memory and thinking got worse by more than 20%. The evidence from the trial suggests that the earlier in the disease the treatment was given, the greater the benefit. This means that there was more slowing in memory and thinking decline in people with fewer changes in their brains associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This means a delay in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by 4.5-7.5 months over the 18 months of the trial. Also after one year on donanemab, nearly half of the people taking it had no decline in memory and thinking skills. 

People taking donanemab also had a 40% reduction in the decline of their ability to carry out daily activities, such as managing finance, driving and carrying out hobbies. 

These are exciting results, but we don’t fully know what this will mean in the long term for people who have taken donanemab as the trial only lasted 18 months. 

How Much Will The Treatment Cost?

Whilst in the UK, Donanemab still has to undergo full assessment by NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), and the manufacturer still has to price the drug, what us known that another recently developed drug for Alzheimers, Lecanemab, is expensive at $26,500 per year in the US. Eli Lilly has said it expects a similar price for Donanemab.

A Preventative Approach : Extra Virgin Olive Oil As Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle Diet

It is estimated to affect approximately 5 million people in the United States alone.

A study by researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) in Philadelphia, reported that extra virgin olive oil, which is the most common component in the Mediterranean Diet, boosts cognitive performance and could aid in preventing Alzheimer’s.

The study involved mice models that have the three components present in Alzheimer’s disease, memory impairment, amyloid plaque build-up and neurofibrillary tangles.

Amyloid plaques are the result of the excess production and build-up of beta-amyloid, a fragment of the protein called “amyloid precursor protein.” In Alzheimer’s disease, these plaques build up in the spaces between neurons and cause loss of memory.

Neurofibrillary tangles are the result of twisted strands of a protein called tau. In a healthy brain, tau helps with the transportation of nutrients and other molecules that the brain cells need. In Alzheimer’s disease, this protein gets tangled up inside the brain cells, which happen to be dying because essential nutrients no longer reach them.

Alzheimer’s characteristics begin to develop in rodents quite early on, so in this experiment, the oil was added to the diet when the mice were 6 months old, before any symptoms could have appeared.

The mice were separated into two groups. The first were fed a regular diet including extra virgin olive oil while the second group has no extra virgin olive oil added to their diet. The researchers evaluated the mice’s cognitive abilities by administering tests for their spatial memory, working memory, and learning skills.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Preserves Brain Cell Health

In terms of general appearance, no differences were noted between the two animal groups. But, when the mice were 9 months and 12 months old, the mice that had been fed the extra-virgin olive oil diet performed much better in the cognitive tests.

Lead investigator Dr. Dominica Praticò and his team also analyzed the brain tissue of these mice, and the studies revealed striking differences between the appearance and functioning of the nerve cells. Firstly, the integrity of the synapses – which are the parts of the brain cell that facilitate communication among neurons – was preserved much better in the olive oil group. Secondly, the brain tissue in the mice fed olive oil revealed a “dramatic increase” in the autophagy activation of the nerve cells. Autophagy is a process that sees nerve cells disintegrate and eliminate the toxic debris that tends to accumulate between the cells. In this experiment, the increase in autophagy led to a decrease in the amyloid plaques and tau.

Dr. Praticò said, “This is an exciting finding for us. Thanks to the autophagy activation, memory, and synaptic integrity were preserved, and the pathological effects in animals otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease were significantly reduced. This is a very important discovery, since we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease.”


Simple Diet Tweaks That Could Cut Your Alzheimer’s Risk

Dubbed the “MIND” diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, this eating pattern recommends natural plant-based foods while limiting red meat, saturated fat and sweets. Observational studies suggest the diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent as well as slow cognitive decline and improve verbal memory.

Researchers developed the diet by looking at the Mediterranean and DASH diets, then focusing on the foods with the most compelling findings in dementia prevention. Vegetables, especially leafy greens, rose to the top and of course, the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, Extra Virgin olive oil.

Researchers then tracked detailed eating logs in an older adult population for an average of 4.5 years to uncover trends among the diets of those who developed dementia versus those who didn’t. Their discovery: Older adults whose diets most closely resembled the pattern laid out in the MIND diet had brains as sharp as people 7.5 years younger. That’s a substantial difference, since delaying dementia by just five years has been suggested to cut the cost and prevalence of the disease in half.

What Is In Extra Virgin Olive Oil That Makes This Difference? – Polyphenols

Thanks to the recent spotlight on the Mediterranean Diet, extensive research has been done on the phytonutrient composition of olive oil. What has been discovered is an extensive list of phytonutrients; one of the most praised is its polyphenols. The amount of polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil is truly amazing!

What Are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are a group of over 500 phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring micronutrients in plants. These compounds give a plant its colour and can help to protect it from various dangers. When you eat plants with polyphenols, you reap the health benefits as well.

Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The high polyphenol content of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. First is the variety of the olive, secondly the climate and terroire of the growing region and thirdly the actual time in the growing season that the crop is harvested.

Morocco Gold is pressed from the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold. Oil from this variety is renowned for it’s high polyphenol count, oxidative stability and longevity.

Our olives are grown in a valley that is about 2,000 feet above sea level. This helps to create the additional climatic challenges that encourage polyphenol uptake within the olive tree. It is also an area with naturally occurring high phenols in the soil itself.

Thirdly, our olives are picked when the fruit is young and green. As the olives age on the tree, the colour of the olive changes to red and then black, the size of the olive increases thus producing more oil, but the polyphenol level decreases. There is a great deal of expertise within the farming community where we source our oil to ensure that the harvest is collected at the optimum time to maximise the polyphenol level.

The Polyphenols Present In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The polyphenols found in Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil include:

Of these, there are a number in particular that have been identified as having a positive effect on cognitive health.

Polyphenol Hydroxytyrosol

Hydroxytyrosol is a well-known minor component found in extra virgin olive oil, which is derived from hydrolysis of the polyphenol oleuropein during olive malaxation and olive oil storage. The compound plays an important role in the complex and varied flavour of olives and olive oil. It is also a vital component which largely adds to the stability and longevity of extra virgin olive oil. 

Uniquely, hydroxytyrosol is the only polyphenol which is able to cross the blood brain barrier.

Polyphenol Oleuropein Aglycone (OA)

Oleuropein aglycone is a glycosylated seco-iridoid, a type of bitter phenolic compound found in green olive skin, flesh, seeds, and leaves. The term oleuropein is derived from the botanical name of the olive tree, Olea Europaea. The chemical formula is :C25H32O13.

Oleuropein aglycone is one of the chief polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil. It is getting more and more global attention within the scientific and medical communities due to its biological properties including in anti-Alzheimer’s disease, anti-breast cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic effect, and anti-oxidative properties.

OA is derived from the de-glycosylation of oleuropein that exists in the leaves and stones of the olive fruit during the maturation period and is obtained during the pressing of the olives.

A Study Of The Effect Of Polyphenol Oleuropein Aglycone On Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is the name for a group of rare but serious condition caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. The build-up of amyloid protein deposits can make it difficult for the organs and tissues to work properly.

It had been reported that the aglycone form of oleuropein interferes with the build-up of a number of proteins associated with amyloidosis, particularly affecting neuro-degenerative diseases, preventing the growth of toxic oligomers (polymers with relatively few repeating units) and displaying protection against cognitive deterioration.

Or in simple terms, OA provides a protective barrier between healthy organ cells and harmful amyloid cells.

Oleuropein Aglycone Works To Protect At A Cellular Level
Oleuropein Aglycone Works To Protect At A Cellular Level

This confirms the polyphenol OA as a promising plant molecule useful against amyloid diseases.

How Do The Costs For A Preventative Approach Compare?

  • Estimated cost of Donanembad (based on similar drug) $26,500 p.a.
  • Including extra virgin olive oil as part of a healthy diet / lifestyle

The European Food Safety Authority has approved health claims for extra virgin olive oils with polyphenol content of more than 250mg / kg. Morocco Gold contains polyphenols well above this level.

Taking 2 table-spoon-fulls per day = 29.6 ml per day
500 ml bottle will last for around 17 days
No. of bottles per year = around 22

Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Benefits

Including Morocco Gold as part of a healthy lifestyle / diet choice can have a profound impact on your health and wellbeing. It can lead to a longer and more fulfilling life with lowered risk of cognitive decline.