A Different Side To The Brain Health Issue

The Lempert Report
February 13, 2018

A new study suggests that there is a link between consuming canola oil and increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease

Don’t panic just yet as the study was conducted on mice and to date there is no linkage to human brain health. As we discussed in our 2018 Trend Report – there is a new focus on brain health and we anticipate reading many more studies on the effects of foods on our brains.    

And here is why; more than 6 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2060, that will rise to 15 million.   

Back to the canola oil study. The researchers, from Temple University in Philadelphia, conducted two studies, the first using olive oil and the second, canola, which is found in many processed and pre-prepared foods. According to Bloomberg, they used special mice with a genetic predisposition to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and gave one group a few drops of olive oil each day. The mice given olive oil did slightly better on memory tests, and, upon dissection, had fewer plaques in their brains than did those fed a standard mouse diet.

When they tried the same experiment with canola oil, they found the mice getting the extra oil did worse on memory tests and had built up more brain plaques. The results may not be sufficient to make anyone give up canola oil, but they do make an important point -- food affects the brain.

Probably the man most responsible for leading us in to the arena of brain health is Joseph Hibbeln, a biochemist and psychiatrist who works at the National Institutes of Health who says that the brain makes up 2 percent of the body by weight and uses up 25 percent of the energy we consume. His research has focused on a potential positive influence of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in seafood and some plants. He’s led studies that suggested a connection between low intake of omega-3s and a host of ills, such as suicideviolence and obesity