How does olive oil protect us from Alzheimer’s desease? New research suggests that extra virgin olive oil prevents the toxic accumulation of Tau protein, present in many types of dementia.
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Olive oil protects us, but only Extra Virgin
In recent years, numerous studies have shown the benefits of extra virgin olive oil for health. In particular, for its ability to reduce cholesterol and associated heart diseases.
Recently, new neuroprotective and cognitive benefits have been discovered.
According to research conducted by Dr. Domenico Praticò published in Aging Cell in November 2019, the Tau protein plays a decisive role in the development of various forms of dementia. To reach this conclusion, a tauopathy model was used in mice.
We must remember that in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the tau protein accumulates within neurons in the form of toxic skeins.
In contrast, in a healthy brain, normal levels of Tau protein stabilize microtubules, supporting structures of neurons.
In tauopathies the accumulation of tangles in neurons prevents nerve cells from receiving nutrients and communicating with neurons. This eventually leads to its death.
Tau protein: positive results in mice
In the investigation, mice modified to accumulate the Tau protein followed a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil. Simultaneously, control mice were fed a normal diet without oil.
A year later, it was found that the first group of mice had 60% less toxic deposits than control mice that had not received a diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil.
In addition they also showed better results in labyrinths and in memory tests.
Subsequently, brain tissue analysis showed that mice that took extra virgin olive oil had the healthiest synapses, as well as better neuroplasticity.
An increase in the protein Complexin 1, a key “presynaptic” protein to maintain healthy synapses, was also found.
According to Dr. Praticò, these results demonstrate that extra virgin olive oil directly improves synaptic activity, short-term plasticity and memory.
The Mediterranean Diet, intangible cultural heritage of humanity
These conclusions would reinforce the benefits and therapeutic potential of extra virgin olive oil, as a natural product not only for Alzheimer’s disease but also for primary tauopathies.