Three tablespoons of olive oil a day protect against Alzheimer’s disease
A long-term diet containing three tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil per day, perhaps starting at an early age, protects against Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, according to the results of the MICOIL pilot randomized study.
As part of the study, scientists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Hellenic Society for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders researched for the first time the effect of Greek, high phenolic content of early harvested extra virgin olive oil (agourelaio) versus medium phenolic content of extra virgin olive oil – and the Mediterranean diet as a natural treatment for amnesic-type mild cognitive impairment, which is usually a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and is characterised by memory loss and inability to perform complex activities of daily living. In addition, genetic predisposition (APOE e4) for Alzheimer’s disease was examined and extensive neuropsychological assessments were performed at baseline and after 12 months.
It should be noted that while there is no cure for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, (except for symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease), the global effort against cognitive disorders is focused on early detection and management of the disease at the amnestic stage of mild cognitive impairment.
The study showed that a long-term intervention with a Mediterranean diet, rich in extra virgin olive oil in 285 participants with high vascular risk, resulted in better cognitive function compared to a controlled diet group. Participants were divided into three groups, which followed a Mediterranean diet. One group’s diet was supplemented with 50ml (three tablespoons) of high phenolic content agave oil, the second group’s diet was supplemented with 50ml of extra virgin olive oil with moderate phenolic content, while the third group followed only a Mediterranean diet without any additional amount of olive oil.
“The MICOIL study showed that long-term intervention with high phenolic agourelaio or moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil was associated with a significant improvement in cognitive functions compared to the Mediterranean diet, independent of the presence of APOE e4, i.e. independent of genetic predisposition. Phenols are substances that block the production of free radicals, which are the result of oxidative stress and destroy cell membranes. In the second evaluation, after 12 months of follow-up, the study revealed better performance in the treatment group compared to the control group. To date, there is no other study that has examined in such a detailed way the effects of Greek extra virgin olive oil in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment as an effective solution for cognitive impairment,”
Magda Tsolaki, professor of the Medical Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, told APE-MPA.
The scientific team consists of Professor Magda Tsolaki, Professor of the Department of Medicine of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the researchers: Eftychia Lazarou, Machi Kozori, Niki Petridou, Irini Tabaki, Juliette Lazarou, Maria Karakota, Jordan Saoulidis, Eleni Melliou, and the associate. Professor of the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Athens, Prokopios Mayatis.