If you or a loved one has ever been diagnosed with a condition like Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, then you know just how impactful it can be on your life.
While any type of disease such as this cannot be completely prevented or cured, recent research has shown that there may be ways to decrease the risk of developing them in the first place. Specifically, swapping out unhealthy eating habits for ones more closely related to the Mediterranean diet and incorporating intermittent fasting with a ketogenic approach could potentially reduce one’s risks.
Today, we’ll dive into what evidence supports these claims and discuss how following a healthier lifestyle based on these principles could benefit someone before they develop cognitive difficulties due to age-associated memory decline or other diseases down the line.
The study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association involved 20 adults, nine diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 11 with normal cognition. All participants were randomly assigned to follow either the low-carbohydrate modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet (consisting of healthy fats/protein and low carbohydrates) or a low-fat, higher carbohydrate diet for six weeks. After this time, they were required to follow a six-week “washout” period to switch to the other diet.
Stool samples were collected from participants at the beginning and end of each diet period and six weeks after the washout of the second diet. This was to analyze changes in the good and bad bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract (microbiome).
It was found that participants with MCI on the modified Mediterranean ketogenic diet had lower levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and GABA-producing microbes. Participants on this diet also had higher levels of GABA-regulating bacteria.
GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, plays a crucial role in regulating the health of the central nervous system. As the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA helps slow down activity and prevent overstimulation. When GABA function is disrupted, it can lead to a range of neuropsychiatric conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research has begun to unravel the complex relationship between GABA and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, highlighting the importance of neurotransmitter health in promoting long-term brain health. As scientists continue to explore the intricacies of the brain, understanding the role of GABA will undoubtedly play a critical role in advancing our understanding of the human mind.
Researchers also found that participants with MCI who had curcumin in their diets had lower levels of BSH-containing bacteria. BSH-containing bacteria are crucial in regulating the bile acids produced by the liver and gut. When the levels of these bacteria are lower, it suggests a reduction in gut motility, which slows down the transit of food and waste through the gut.
Interestingly, abnormal bile acid profiles have been observed in adults with Alzheimer’s disease, raising the question of whether a relationship exists between gut health and brain function. While much more research is needed to understand the connection fully, these findings highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome for overall bodily health.
“These findings provide crucial insight into how diet may affect the microbiome and improve brain health,” said study author, Suzanne Craft, Ph.D. “Larger studies are needed to assess the role diet interventions play in patients with cognitive impairment.”
Promoting Brain Function
While some degree of cognitive decline is nearly inevitable as you age, other factors can take a toll on the ability of the brain to function at peak potential. This can affect memory, concentration, and overall brain function.
The Smart Pill can help to enhance cognitive function and memory through 9 ingredients that help to support, nourish, and maximize brain health. These include ginkgo biloba, huperzine A, bacopa extract, rosemary extract, and a B vitamin complex. The formulation of these ingredients is an excellent way to help fight free radicals, boost circulation, and provide nutritional support to assist with cognitive function.