Posted on Dec 04, 2009, 6 a.m.
Spanish study finds that foods rich in polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids delay Alzheimer’s Disease in a lab animal model.
Grapes, cocoa, olive oil, and nuts are rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, and oily fish and vegetables such as corn and soybeans are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mercedes Unzeta, from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), and colleagues studied the effect of a polyphenol and fatty acid enriched diet on the neurogenesis of the brain of an adult mouse. Using two groups of mice for a study lasting 40 days (equivalent to a five-year period in humans), one group was given a normal diet and the other group given an identical diet but enriched with a mixture of natural products including dried fruit and nuts, coconut, vegetable oils and flour rich in soluble fiber, the team conducted biochemical and molecular analyses to detect various neuronal markers. The researchers observed that the mice fed the polyphenol and fatty acid enriched diet had a significantly higher amount of stem cells, as well as new differentiated cells, in the olfactory bulb and hippocampus regions of the brain, both of which are damaged in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Further, the team noted that the diet compound diminished oxidative damage in the hippocampal and cortical cells of the brain. The team concludes that: “a diet [rich in polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids] could have a significant effect combating the cognitive function decline during both aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
Tony Valente, Juan Hidalgo, Irene Bolea, Bartolome Ramirez, Neus Angles, Jordi Reguant, Jose Ramon Morello, Cristina Gutierrez, Merce Boada, Mercedes Unzeta. “A Diet Enriched in Polyphenols and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, LMN Diet, Induces Neurogenesis in the Subventricular Zone and Hippocampus of Adult Mouse Brain.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 18, Number 4, in-press.