Can a Diet Reduce the Symptoms of Dementia?

Short cycles of a low-calorie diet that mimics fasting appeared to lower inflammation and delay cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease mouse models. Cycles of a diet that simulates fasting seem to lessen Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice genetically engineered to develop the disease, according to new research led by the University of Southern California (USC) Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. The study was recently published in the journal Cell Reports

The team, led by Professor Valter Longo and included Professors Christian Pike and Pinchas Cohen, discovered that mice that had undergone several cycles of the fasting-mimicking diet showed less Alzheimer’s pathology.  Lower levels of two important characteristics of the disease were discovered: amyloid beta, the principal driver of plaque accumulation in the brain, and hyperphosphorylated tau protein, which creates tangles in the brain. They also discovered that brain inflammation was reduced and mice performed better on cognitive tests when compared to mice given a regular diet.

The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) is rich in unsaturated fats and low in total calories, protein, and carbs, and is intended to mimic the effects of a water-only fast while still delivering essential nutrients. Previous research led by Longo has shown that brief, periodic FMD cycles have a variety of beneficial effects in mice and humans, including the promotion of stem cell regeneration, the reduction of chemotherapy side effects, and the reduction of risk factors for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other age-related diseases.

Excerpted from Sci Tech Daily

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