Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | canola | oil | brain | health | Alzheimers | plaques

Canola Oil Linked to Worsened Brain Health

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Thursday, 07 Dec 2017 01:06 PM

Canola oil, one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world, may be bad for your brain. A new study by researchers at Temple University found that mouse models of Alzheimer's disease fed diets containing canola oil showed worsened memories and learning ability as well as weight gain.

It is the first study to suggest that canola oil does more harm than good for the brain.

"Canola oil is appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as being healthy," explained senior researcher Dr. Domenico Praticò, director of the Alzheimer's Center at Temple's Lewis Katz School of Medicine. "Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain."

Researchers focused their work on memory impairment and the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. The animal model simulates Alzheimer's in humans, progressing from an asymptomatic phase in early life to full-blown disease in aged animals.

Amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau, which is responsible for the formation of tau neurofibrillary tangles, contribute to neurological dysfunction and degeneration and memory loss in Alzheimer's disease.

In research published earlier this year, Praticò and co-author Elisabetta Lauretti used the same mouse model in an investigation of olive oil. In that study, they found that Alzheimer mice fed a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau and experienced memory improvement.

For their latest study, they wanted to determine whether canola oil carried similar benefits.

The researchers started by dividing the mice into two groups at six months of age, before the animals developed signs of Alzheimer's disease. One group was fed a normal diet, while the other was fed a diet supplemented with the equivalent of about two tablespoons of canola oil daily.

The researchers then assessed the animals at 12 months. One of the first differences observed was in body weight: Animals on the canola oil-enriched diet weighed significantly more than mice on the regular diet.

Maze tests to assess working memory, short-term memory, and learning ability uncovered additional differences. Most significantly, mice that had consumed canola oil over a period of six months suffered impairments in working memory.

Examination of brain tissue from the two groups of mice revealed that canola oil-treated animals had greatly reduced levels of amyloid beta 1-40. Amyloid beta 1-40 is the more soluble form of the amyloid beta proteins. It generally is considered to serve a beneficial role in the brain and acts as a buffer for the more harmful insoluble form, amyloid beta 1-42.

As a result of decreased amyloid beta 1-40, animals on the canola oil diet further showed increased formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, with neurons engulfed in amyloid beta 1-42. The damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of contacts between neurons, indicative of extensive synapse injury. Synapses, the areas where neurons come into contact with one another, play a central role in memory formation and retrieval.

The findings suggest that canola oil does not benefit brain health.

"Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy," Praticò said. "Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits."

The researchers plan further studies. "We also want to know whether the negative effects of canola oil are specific for Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Praticò added. "There is a chance that the consumption of canola oil could also affect the onset and course of other neurodegenerative diseases or other forms of dementia."

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Canola oil, one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world, may be bad for your brain. A new study by researchers at Temple University found that mouse models of Alzheimer's disease fed diets containing canola oil showed worsened memories and learning ability...
canola, oil, brain, health, Alzheimers, plaques
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2017-06-07
Thursday, 07 Dec 2017 01:06 PM
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