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Low Protein Diet May Help Alzheimer’s Disease

- Friday, February 15, 2013

Researchers have been trying to find dietary interventions that could prevent and even treat Alzheimer's disease. A recent study just found one nutritional approach might be a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. The study highlights potential treatment from a low-protein diet that was found to halt progression of the disease in mice.

According to the scientists, eating a low protein diet keeps levels of the growth hormone lower which is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and aging. The researchers previously found humans deficient in this hormone had lower incidences of cancer and diabetes, leading them to investigate the effect diet might have on improving Alzheimer's disease.

Mice given the lower protein diet were able to find their way through a maze. The researchers also say the mice given the special diet had fewer damaged brain neurons that comes from high levels of damaged protein, called "tau".

Authors who worked on the study says it's important to find ways to treat the Alzheimer's disease that is expected to become a major burden from an aging population. It can take years to develop drugs to treat the disease, making it important to find new approaches to address the problem.

Other potential natural interventions for Alzheimer's disease that show promise include vitamin E, grape seed extract, coffee and curcumin found in the Indian spice turmeric.
 
More studies are needed to determine if a low protein diet can help humans with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers say the diet may not be safe for elderly people who might already be frail and have lost weight. The protein restricted diet was given to mice every other week for four weeks and just might be an option worth trying for humans, but only under strict supervision of a physician.

For information on Alzheimer’s care, contact Spring Arbor Living.

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