There are many clinical trials taking place to understand and treat Alzheimer's disease. There is research on the possible use of cannabis to deter cognitive decline and dementia in Alzheimer's disease, with no high quality results indicating any benefits as of 2015. Here Maria Cohut, MedicalNewsToday.com, reflects on diet used to protect against cognitive decline:
“Ketogenic, or keto, diets are low-carb and fat-rich, and many people who follow such regimens do it to shed excess weight. However, a keto diet may bring other benefits, too. In particular, it may help keep the brain healthy and young, as new research in mice seems to suggest.
A keto diet is high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and has an adequate amount of protein.
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This kind of diet is meant to trigger ketosis, which is a metabolic process through which the body breaks down fat and protein and transforms them into energy, leading to weight loss.
Besides triggering weight loss, a keto diet may also bring other health benefits, as studies have recently suggested. For instance, one such study argued that keto diets could help reduce the side effects of certain cancer therapies.
Now, researchers from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, are assessing evidence suggesting that keto diets may also help stave off cognitive decline.
The scientists conducted two studies, both in mice. The findings indicate that keto-type diets can protect neurovascular function, as well as metabolic function, in general, which may help the animals maintain healthy cognitive function.
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Keto diet clears out beta-amyloid
The first study, whose results appear in the journal Scientific Reports, looked at the effects of a keto diet on neurovascular function, which includes sensory and motor functions, as well as circulation.
The team worked with two groups of nine mice each, all of which were aged 12-14 weeks. The animals received either a ketogenic diet or a regular diet for 16 weeks.
After this period, the scientists found that the mice that had followed the keto regimen had not only improved blood flow to the brain, but also better bacterial balance in the gut, as well as lower blood glucose (sugar), and lower body weight.
Moreover, and most importantly, the keto diet also seemed to boost the clearance of beta-amyloid protein in the brain — the “building blocks” that, in Alzheimer's, stick together, forming toxic plaques which interfere with neuronal signaling.“
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