- Regular consumption of canola oil may harm your brain health
- The team used a mice model to carry out several experiments
- The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports
Canola oil is the oil derived from rapeseed. It is a type of vegetable oil that is low in erucic acid. "Canola oil is appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as being healthy. Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain," Domenico Pratico, professor at Temple University in the US.
Researchers focused their work on memory impairment and the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. Amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau, which is responsible for the formation of tau neurofibrillary tangles, contribute to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration and memory loss in Alzheimer's disease.
The animal model was designed to recapitulate Alzheimer's in humans, progressing from an asymptomatic phase in early life to full-blown disease in aged animals. Researchers had previously used the same mouse model in an investigation of olive oil, and found that mice fed a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau and experienced memory improvement which is contrary to the effects that canola oil had.
The researchers divided the mice into two groups at six months of age, before the animals developed signs of Alzheimer's disease. One group was fed a normal diet, while the other was fed a diet supplemented with the equivalent of about two tablespoons of canola oil daily.
Maze tests were used to assess working memory, short-term memory, and learning ability that uncovered additional differences. Most significantly, it was noticed that mice that had consumed canola oil over a period of six months suffered impairments in working memory.
The findings suggest that long-term consumption of canola oil may not be beneficial to your brain health. "Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy," Pratico concluded.
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