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Old 06-30-2010, 03:52 PM
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Default Olive Oil May Contain an Anti-Alzheimer's Compound

Olive Oil May Contain an
Anti-Alzheimer’s Compound



NOVEMBER 2009—Olive oil’s healthy reputation has received another boost: One of its compounds may help fight the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of researchers from Northwestern University, writing in a recent issue of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, found that a substance called oleocanthal was able in lab tests to change the structure of ADDLs, toxic proteins thought to disrupt nerve function in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Such structural changes kept the ADDLs from binding within neural synapses, the spaces between brain cells through which messages are passed.

Oleocanthal occurs naturally in extra virgin olive oil, which also contains antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is already known to benefit the cardiovascular system, especially through its ability to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation damage, and is a key component in the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease affects up to 5.3 million people in the US, a rate that is predicted to double in 20 years. Early signs include poor judgment and decision-making along with loss of short-term memory and verbal skills.

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