A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause the body to produce contaminants that may lead to swelling and an abundance of plaques in the brain. This may cause an impairment in cognitive function and increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The gene associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s is called ApoE4 – and it is responsible for regulating cholesterol in the brain and the transportation of fat.
A variant of this gene is also associated with a higher rate of heart disease and cognitive decline. More women are affected by Alzheimer’s when compared to men, and if women have one copy of this gene, their chances of obtaining Alzheimer’s may increase.
An Unhealthy Diet May Be Responsible for the Development of Plaques in the Brain
Scientists at the University of Southern California studied the effect of a high calorie diet in mice with this aforementioned gene. In two groups, they fed one set of mice a diet of 10% fat and 7% sugar, and the other group 45% fat and 17% sugar, otherwise known as a typical western diet. The unhealthy diet led to pre-diabetes and weight gain in mice, and the ones with the ApoE4 gene developed more plaque in their brains, the protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Part of what the results are saying is that risk doesn’t affect everybody the same, and that’s true for most risk factors … Your genes have a big role in what happens to you, but so does your environment and your modifiable lifestyle factors. How much you exercise becomes important, and what you eat becomes important. That means there are probably components directly in the diet, and one of those are fatty acids, like palmitic acid, that trigger inflammation because they can go in and directly affect glia. But that may be just one inflammation-related component of Alzheimer’s disease.” – Christian Pike, the study’s leading author
Further Research is Required to Confirm the Role an Unhealthy Diet Plays in Alzheimer’s Disease
Further research is required to confirm the link between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease, and also why more women are affected than men. In addition, researchers are also becoming familiar with types of foods and diets that may postpone the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care Services in Oakbrook Terrace, IL
Terra Vista is a dementia and Alzheimer’s memory care community in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. In addition, we provide memory respite care services for individuals that need a temporary break caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Give us a call by phone at (630) 534-0886 or contact our staff online to learn more about our memory care programs.
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