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Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Alzheimer's

Just when we thought Extra Virgin Olive Oil couldn’t get any better for us, a recent study revealed that it actually has the power to reduce the health problems that lead to Alzheimer’s.

This is wonderful news! Both for anyone who has had to watch a loved one fade away into the horrible symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and for anyone simply trying to retain their good health.


What Did the Study Discover?

Let’s cover some basic definitions first. In an Alzheimer’s patient, their brain is clogged up with “amyloid plaque” and “neurofibrillary tangles” caused by “phosphorylated tau.”

What are those things anyway?

Amyloid plaque is essentially, protein-based cellular debris that does not flush properly out of the cells. Over time it builds up and forms a sticky plaque that prevents proper cell communication and causes inflammation.

Neurofibrillary tangles are when the fibrils (tiny micro hairs) in a nerve cell get tangled and cannot send and receive signals as they should. These tangles are found in every Alzheimer’s patient’s autopsied brain.

Phosphorylated tau is better explained in its two pieces: tau are proteins that stabilize the little pathways in our nervous system so they can send and receive messages. We need that! And phosphorylation is a breakdown process that shuts off certain protein functions, causing them to lose their purpose. So…phosphorylated tau is tau protein that has been altered so that it can no longer do its job of stabilizing our neurons.

Quick recap: When Alzheimer’s patients’ brain tissue is autopsied it always shows amyloid plaque and phosphorylated tau that results in neurofibrillary tangles. The plaque clogs our cells with sticky residue that prevent cellular communication and causes inflammation, and the neurofibrillary tangles keep our neurons from sending and receiving messages to and from our brains.

Got all that?


How Does Extra Virgin Olive Oil Help?

We’ve talked before about how Extra Virgin Olive Oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and here is scientific proof positive that those healthful properties are incredibly valuable to us over the course of our lives.

We all know antioxidants are good for us, but do you know why? Oxidation is what happens when the food we take in breaks down and becomes energy for our cells and the dead tissue and unnecessary fuel that is supposed to get sloughed off as cellular debris and hauled away, doesn’t. It sits there instead, making it so our cells can’t do their job and aging our bodies.

EVOO fights oxidation through a process called “autophagy.” It helps our cells break their fuel down better, use what they need, and get rid of the waste without it collecting in the corners. In the case of Alzheimer’s, that means amyloid plaque doesn’t form, inflammation is reduced, and our tau proteins stabilize our neurons just like they’re supposed to rather than losing their ability to function.


Translation into Plain Old English

Over the course of this study, mice who had Extra Virgin Olive Oil added to their diets performed better on memory and nervous system tests than mice who were fed coconut oil or butter, because EVOO helps our cells perform how they should and get rid of the trash that needs to be removed.

Isn’t that good news? Not only is Extra Virgin Olive Oil delicious, not only does it not hurt your health, it actually helps your health! Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease. One that hopefully will be eradicated as the years go by and we continue to increase our understanding of it.

For now, here’s one thing you can do to help prevent it—eat Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Buy the good stuff and enjoy it, knowing you are helping your health both today and in the future.

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