Alzheimer’s Study On Mice Shows Eating Garlic Is Linked To Better Memory

April 10, 2019

Vampires aren’t the only thing garlic is repelling anymore. A recent study involving Alzheimer’s disease in mice found that eating garlic may reduce the risk of developing memory problems later in life.

The researchers, who presented their data at the American Physiological Society’s 2019 experimental biology meeting, investigated the role of aging digestive systems in the development of memory problems.

Garlic was chosen because of its medicinal properties. Garlic is high in an organic compound called allyl sulfide, which has many health benefits including lowering cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure.

“The diversity of the gut microbiota is diminished in elderly people, a life stage when neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s develop and memory and cognitive abilities can decline,” said Dr. Neetu Tyagi, co-author of the study at the University of Louisville.

“We want to better understand how changes in the gut microbiota relate to aging-associated cognitive decline,” said Tyagi.

Gut microbiota are the microbes that populate the human body and outnumber our cells 10 to one. Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, says there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests there’s a link between brain and gut health.

Researchers dosed 24-month-old mice (the age equivalent of humans between the ages of 56 and 69) with allyl sulfide. They then compared their memory skills to 24-year-old mice who didn’t take the allyl sulfide.

The mice who were dosed with allyl sulfide had healthier gut bacteria than those who didn’t receive the compound. They also had better short-term and long-term memory skills.

“Our findings suggest that dietary administration of garlic containing allyl sulfide could help maintain healthy gut microorganisms and improve cognitive health in the elderly,” said Dr. Jyotirmaya Behera, who led the study with Tyagi.

Behera and Tyagi believe memory problems could be caused by the neuronal-derived natriuretic factor (NDNF) not being fully expressed in older mice. The mice who took the garlic supplement had greater expression of this gene. Mice who didn’t eat the garlic compound, but received therapy related to the NDNF gene, also experienced improved memory.

“This project is in its infancy and [was] only carried out in mice, so we can’t say eating garlic reduces age-related memory problems or impacts gut health at this stage,” said Pickett. But, he says, the research is exciting.

Approximately 5.8 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s predicted that the number will increase to 14 million by 2050. Physical activity is a great way to stay healthy, but not too many exercises help fight cognitive disorders. However, of 11 physical activities considered in a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, only dancing was tied to a lower dementia risk

Although puzzles can activate our brains and reading labels can cut back unhealthy food choices by 13%, there’s no treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. But that doesn’t mean a healthy diet and exercise doesn’t reduce your risk.

“We’re investing in research to examine how bacteria in the gut can influence brain function and health,” said Pickett. “In the meantime, what we do know is what is good for the heat is good for the head: a healthy, varied diet and getting plenty of exercise can help to reduce the risk of dementia.”

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One Response to Alzheimer’s Study On Mice Shows Eating Garlic Is Linked To Better Memory

  1. fitoru Reply

    January 20, 2020 at 1:23 am

    Thanks goodness I came across this blog. I have long been wanting to read something like this.

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