American, Canadian and British researchers have found that a high protein diet may shrink the brain and contribute to the development of Alzheimers disease.
Scientists fed mice, bred to develop the memory-debilitating disease, four different diets to measure the affect of food on the brain. The animals received either a regular diet, a high fat/low carbohydrate diet, a high protein/low carb version or a high carbohydrate/low fat option. The researchers then looked at the brain and body weight of the mice, as well as plaque build up and differences in the structure of several brain regions that are involved in the memory defect underlying AD.
They found that the mice fed the high protein diet had brains that were 5 percent lighter than those fed the other diets. In addition, other regions of their brains that were associated with Alzheimers were less developed than the others.
“Given the previously reported association of high protein diet with aging-related neurotoxicity, one wonders whether particular diets, if ingested at particular ages, might increase susceptibility to incidence or progression of Alzheimers,” said the studys lead author, Sam Gandy.
He adds that clinical diet trials on humans would be necessary to confirm whether what people eat could prevent or slow the development of the disease.
According to the Alzheimers Association, several are believed to enhance memory and slow the progression of the disease. They include coenzyme-Q10, gingko biloba, coral calcium, huperzine A and omega-3 fatty acids.