Western Diet May be Blamed for Increasing the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Consuming a western diet that is high in cholesterol, fat and sugar may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

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Western Diet May be Blamed for Increasing the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Highlights

  1. A type of gene called ApoE4 has been linked to Alzheimer's disease
  2. A western diet high in cholesterol, fat and sugar can increase your risk
  3. Certain lifestyle changes can help in reducing this risk
While the real cause of Alzheimer's remains obscure, genetics is considered to play a critical role in the onset of the disease. Most of the patients are seen to have a family history of the Alzheimer's. A new study, conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California in the United States, shows that consuming a western diet that high in cholesterol, fat and sugar may influence the development of Alzheimer's disease in people who carry a gene linked to this neurodegenerative disease.

Alzheimer's is a chronic disease that affects your mental functions and ultimately leads to memory loss. The disease affects your brain connections that start to degrade due to the damage caused to the brain cells. This causes difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and language.

According to the study, ApoE4 and ApoE3 are two variants of a gene that code for a protein called apolipoprotein E which is known to bind fats and cholesterol. While ApoE4 has been linked to increased risk of inflammation and cardiovascular diseases along with Alzheimer's, ApoE3 may not be a risk factor. However, researchers indicate that not all carriers of the APOE4 gene may develop Alzheimer's.

For the study, the team placed a group of mice with ApoE4 on a control diet that contained 10 per cent fat and seven per cent sucrose, while another group of mice with ApoE4 ate a typical Western diet with 45 per cent fat and 17 per cent sucrose for a period of 12 weeks. A similar test was run on mice with the ApoE3 gene.

The results showed that when the APOE4-carrying mice were fed a Western diet they showed increased deposits of beta-amyloid protein plaques in their brains that act as a marker for inflammation and can obstruct cognition and memory increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. They also exhibited a greater number of glial cells which are the brain cells responsible for immunity response.

The study concludes that certain lifestyle changes can help in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. For instance, the Alzheimer's Research & Prevention Foundation suggests that exercising regularly reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by almost 50%. Your daily diet can also play an important role in determining your risk. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and seeds, wonder spices like turmeric, green leafy vegetables and antioxidant-rich berries can help in keeping your brain healthy and also improving its performance.

Inputs from IANS


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