Alzheimer’s Risk: Diet, Muscle Power, Maternal Family

Older people with stronger muscles are at reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to their weaker peers, a new study shows.

Alzheimer’s & Muscle Power

Dr. Patricia A. Boyle of Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago and her colleagues found that the greater a person’s muscle strength, the lower their likelihood of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over a four-year period. The same was true for the loss of mental function that often precedes full-blown Alzheimer’s. People who ranked in the top 10 percent for muscle strength were 61 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than the weakest 10 percent. Stronger people also showed a slower decline in their mental abilities over time. SOURCE: Archives of Neurology, November 2009.

Maternal Family Genetic Inheritance

It is well known that Alzheimer’s disease runs in families, but researchers have found that it may be inherited through the maternal genes. According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry the measure of a protein called amyloid is a marker for Alzheimer’s.   Adult children of mother’s with the disease have a greater amount of this protein in their brains.  It is hoped that the identification of genetic risk factors will help them to develop future therapies for the disease.  Source:

Alzheimer’s & Diet

An article published online on June 2, 2010 in FASEB Journal reports the discovery of Temple University researchers of the benefit of a low methionine diet in slowing or reversing early to moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease in an animal model.

Methionine is an essential amino acid that occurs in relatively high amounts in red meat, fish, eggs and other foods. A byproduct of methionine metabolism is homocysteine, another amino acid that has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as cardiovascular disease when elevated.


Alzheimer’s & Mediterranean Diet

A large study of older adults found a reduced dementia risk associated with the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet provides higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than the Western diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with a protective effect on the brain and brain functioning.

The study was published in the April 30, 2013 issue of the journal Neurology. It looked at 17,478 Caucasian and African American participants who were in a study about strokes called “Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS).” These participants had not had a stroke or cognitive impairment when they started in the study.

When analyzing the questionnaires about diet, the researchers checked to see how closely each participant’s resembled the a Mediterranean diet. This diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, plus legumes, olive oil, nuts, and fish.

The results showed that subjects whose diets were closest to the Mediterranean diet had an 11% lowered risk of cognitive impairment.  This risk was lowered even more in people who were not diabetic: 19% lower incidence of cognitive impairment versus nondiabetics who did not adhere to the Mediterranean diet.

“Since there are no definitive treatments for most dementing illnesses, modifiable activities, such as diet, that may delay the onset of symptoms of dementia are very important,” stated lead author Georgios Tsivgoulis, MD, of the University of Athens in Greece. “Diet is an important modifiable activity that could help in preserving cognitive functioning in late life. However, it is only one of several important lifestyle activities that might play a role in late-life mental functioning. Exercise, avoiding obesity, not smoking cigarettes and taking medications for conditions like diabetes and hypertension are also important.”

At Natural Eye Care, we emphasize nutrition as an important way to prevent health issues. Learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia.

Study: Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of incident cognitive impairment by Georgios Tsivgoulis, MD et. al. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182904f69 Neurology April 30, 2013 vol. 80 no. 18 1684-1692