Dementia: vegetable oils packed with omega-6 may fuel brain deterioration by damaging brain cells

Dementia is a terrible condition that disrupts the lives of millions each year. The onset of symptoms is progressive and distressing, and is generally characterized by a gradual decline in mental agility. Until recently, little research has explored the association between certain dietary patterns and disease risk. However, a body of research has indicated that the oil widely used in cooking can damage brain cells and increase the risk of mental decline.

According to one study, fatty acids in a range of seemingly healthy ingredients can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by damaging brain cells.

Omega-6 essential fatty acids, generally touted as a healthy compound, are ubiquitous compounds found primarily in vegetable oils.

The foods with the highest concentrations of nutrients are soybean oil (50 grams), corn oil (49 grams), mayonnaise (39 grams), walnuts (37 grams), sunflower seeds (34 grams), and almonds (12 grams), according to Healthline.

The study, led by the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Diseases, found that high levels of arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, was linked to brain changes common in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more: Signs of dementia: Behavior that is ‘early warning’ – it can be ‘too subtle’

The researchers measured levels of arachidonic acid in the brains of mice, before giving them a memory test called a Morris water maze.

Rene Sanchez-Mejia, who led the study in San Francisco, noted: “The most striking change we discovered in Alzheimer’s mice was an increase in arachidonic acid and related metabolites in the hippocampus, a memory center that is affected both early and severely in Alzheimer’s disease.”

Arachidonic acid plays a key role in the production of the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that mimics the filter and protects neurons from potentially dangerous pollutants in the bloodstream.

The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, indicated that taking too much arachidonic acid may be harmful to the brain.

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Scientists have found that blocking the enzyme appears to reduce levels of the chemicals arachidonic acid in the brains of rodents, preventing memory and deteriorating behavior.

While the findings highlight a possible link between omega-6 and Alzheimer’s disease, other omega fatty acids may have the opposite effect on the brain.

Fatty acids like omega-3s, for example, may protect the brain from cognitive decline.

Research published in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity last year sheds light on the protective effect of omega-3s in mice fed processed foods.

The team found that supplementing the processed diet with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA prevents memory problems and reduces the inflammatory effects of refined foods.

Furthermore, in rodents that ate processed foods, the team found evidence of rapid brain deterioration that occurred within four weeks.

“These findings suggest that consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and sudden memory deficits—and in the case of aging, the potential for rapid memory decline increases in older adults,” said Ruth Barrientos, a researcher at The Ohio State University Research Institute of Behavioral Medicine. to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“By realizing this, perhaps we can reduce processed foods in our diets and increase consumption of foods rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA to either prevent or slow this progression.”

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