The mystery of exactly how consumption of extra virgin olive oil helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may lie in one component of olive oil that helps shuttle the abnormal Alzheimer's Disease proteins out of the brain, scientists are reporting in a new study. It appears in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
Amal Kaddoumi and colleagues note that Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects about 30 million people worldwide, but the prevalence is lower in Mediterranean countries. Scientists once attributed it to the high concentration of healthful monounsaturated fats in olive oil — consumed in large amounts in the Mediterranean diet.
The protective agent in olive oil may be oleocanthal, scientists say
Newer research suggested that the actual protective agent might be a substance called oleocanthal, which has effects that protect nerve cells from the kind of damage that occurs in Alzheimer's disease. Kaddoumi's team sought evidence on whether oleocanthal helps decrease the accumulation of beta-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain, believed to be the culprit in Alzheimer's Disease.
The effects of oleocanthal on the brain
They describe tracking the effects of oleocanthal in the brains and cultured brain cells of laboratory mice used as stand-ins for humans in such research. In both instances, oleocanthal showed a consistent pattern in which it boosted production of two proteins and key enzymes believed to be critical in removing Aβ from the brain.
"Extra-virgin olive oil-derived oleocanthal associated with the consumption of Mediterranean diet has the potential to reduce the risk of AD or related neurodegenerative dementias," the report concludes, according to the March 20, 2013 news release, "Explaining how extra virgin olive oil protects against Alzheimer's disease."
For further information, see the news article, "Scientists Determine Why Olive Oil Helps Fight Alzheimer's Disease," and check out the abstract of the original study, "Olive-Oil-Derived Oleocanthal Enhances β-Amyloid Clearance as a Potential Neuroprotective Mechanism against Alzheimer’s Disease: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies," published online February 15, 2013 in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience (American Chemical Society (ACS) journal).
Also see, "Nutritional and Biological Properties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil," Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry." Oleocanthal, a phenolic component of extra-virgin olive oil, has been recently linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) and tau proteins in the brain.
The mechanism by which oleocanthal exerts its neuroprotective effect is still incompletely understood
In the latest study, researchers worked with mice brains to provide in vitro and in vivo evidence for the potential of oleocanthal from olive oil to enhance Aβ clearance from the brain via up-regulation of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and LDL lipoprotein receptor related protein-1 (LRP1), major Aβ transport proteins, at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Results from in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated similar and consistent pattern of oleocanthal in controlling Aβ levels.
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. Check out the ACS on Twitter and Facebook.
Another new study examines the anti-cancer properties of soybeans
First study to report that proteins found in soybeans, could inhibit growth of colon, liver and lung cancers, published in Food Research International. The new study highlights strong anti-cancer properties of soybeans. But were the soybeans in the study organic or GMO commercial soybeans?
Soybean meal is a bi-product following oil extraction from soybean seeds. It is rich in protein, which usually makes up around 40% of the nutritional components of the seeds and dependent on the line, and can also contain high oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid).
The study looked at the role soybeans could have in the prevention of cancer
Using a variety of soybean lines which were high in oleic acid and protein, the researchers looked to monitor bioactivity between the peptides derived from the meals of soybean and various types of human cancer cells. The study showed that peptides derived from soybean meal significantly inhibited cell growth by 73% for colon cancer, 70% for liver cancer and 68% for lung cancer cells using human cell lines.
This new study shows that the selected high oleic acid soybean lines could have a potential nutraceutical affect in helping to reduce the growth of several types of cancer cells. Check out the article about the study, "Peptides derived from high oleic acid soybean meals inhibit colon, liver and lung cancer cell growth," by Srinivas J. Rayaprolu, Navam S. Hettiarachchy, Pengyin Chen, Arvind Kannan and Andronikos Mauromostakos. It's published in the October 21, 2012 issue of the journal Food Research International published by Elsevier. Also see the March 20, 2013 news release, "New study highlights strong anti-cancer properties of soybeans."