I thought I would poke into what the research literature says about things in my diet and associated risk of Alzheimer’s disease or late-onset dementia. I came up with the following”
My morning cups of coffee (3-4 cups, half-caffeinated, half decaff):
“Coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk of dementia and AD later in life compared with those drinking no or only little coffee adjusted for demographic, lifestyle and vascular factors, apolipoprotein E Îµ4 allele and depressive symptoms. The lowest risk (65% decreased) was found in people who drank 3-5 cups per day(ref).” “Middle-aged people who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by between 60 and 65 percent later in life,” said lead researcher on the project, Miia Kivipelto, a professor at the University of Kuopio in Finland and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm(ref). A just-out study goes further and suggests that lots of coffee can possibly reverse symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease: “New research from the US and Japan showed that giving the caffeine equivalent of five cups of coffee a day to aged mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s reversed two signs of the disease: it reversed memory impairment and reduced the hallmark protein in the animals’ blood and brains(ref).” See my earlier post Phytochemicals – focus on caffeic acid.
My usual breakfast: a sugar-free bran cereal with blueberries, walnuts and a sliced half-banana.
From Science News: Diet Of Walnuts, Blueberries Improve Cognition; May Help Maintain Brain Function(ref): “Diets containing two percent, six percent, or nine percent walnuts, when given to old rats, were found to reverse several parameters of brain aging, as well as age-related motor and cognitive deficits, says James Joseph, PhD, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston.” – “Diets containing two percent, six percent, or nine percent walnuts, when given to old rats, were found to reverse several parameters of brain aging, as well as age-related motor and cognitive deficits, says James Joseph, PhD, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston.” “This information, coupled with our previous studies, shows that the addition of walnuts, berries, and grape juice to the diet may increase ‘health span’ in aging and provide a ‘longevity dividend’ or economic benefit for slowing the aging process by reducing the incidence and delaying the onset of debilitating degenerative disease.” Six percent walnuts is equivalent to about an ounce a day which is what I have been eating. A British study reported in April 2009 confirms the value of walnuts for enhancing the ability of the connections between neurons to change in strength and function in aging rodents, and also to limiting oxidative damage to neural tissue. In aged rodents(ref). Oh yes, and then there is the half- banana. Another research report indicates “”Our results suggest that fresh apples, banana and orange in our daily diet along with other fruits may protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” Lee concluded(ref).”
My daily fruit snacks (apple, cherries, plum, grapes, nectarine)
Previous reference applies.
My daily chocolate snack
“Oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen species has been strongly associated with the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we investigated the possible protective effects of a cocoa procyanidin fraction (CPF) and procyanidin B2 (epicatechin-(4beta-8)-epicatechin) – a major polyphenol in cocoa – against apoptosis of PC12 rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells induced by hydrogen peroxide. – These results suggest that the protective effects of CPF and procyanidin B2 against H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis involve inhibiting the downregulation of Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-2 expression through blocking the activation of JNK and p38 MAPK(ref).” So, chocolate might help too and reduce cardiovascular risk as well(ref).
Glass of red wine (1-2 days a week)
“We recently found that moderate consumption of two un-related red wines generate from different grape species, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a muscadine wine that are characterized by distinct component composition of polyphenolic compounds, significantly attenuated the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-type brain pathology and memory deterioration in a transgenic AD mouse model. Interestingly, our evidence suggests that the two red wines attenuated AD phenotypes through independent mechanisms. In particular, we previously found that treatment with Cabernet Sauvignon reduced the generation of AD-type amyloid-Î² (AÎ²) peptides. In contrast, evidence from our present study suggests that muscadine treatment attenuates AÎ² neuropathology and AÎ²-related cognitive deterioration in Tg2576 mice by interfering with the oligomerization of AÎ² molecules to soluble high-molecular-weight AÎ² oligomer species that are responsible for initiating a cascade of cellular events resulting in cognitive decline. Collectively, our observations suggest that distinct polyphenolic compounds from red wines may be bioavailable at the organism level and beneficially modulate AD phenotypes through multiple AÎ²-related mechanisms(ref).” See my previous post in this blog Half glass of wine a day – good for longevity or bad because of increased cancer risk?
Salami, prosciutto or corned beef sandwich, hot dog, bacon, hamburger, Polish or Italian sausage- once a week?
It would not be honest to represent everything I eat as good for me. Occasionally, perhaps once or twice a week, I will partake of processed meat. Usually this is in a restaurant, ball park or other place where I cannot check on the preservatives used. “Preservatives added to cured meats, bacon and ground beef have been linked to dementia diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” – “Scientists say sodium nitrite, which is added to meat and fish to destroy toxins, reacts with proteins in the meat, damaging human DNA cells similar to aging(ref).” “U.S. researchers say they have found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in the environment and in food and increased deaths from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Type 2 diabetes. –The study, published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found “strong parallels” between age-adjusted increases in the death rate from those diseases and the progressive increases in human exposure to nitrates and nitrosamines through processed and preserved foods, as well as through fertilizers(ref).