Canola oil may be harmful to brain, study says

Maricruz Casares
Diciembre 8, 2017

Senior study investigator Dr. Domenico Praticò, of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, told Medical News Today that numerous supposed benefits of canola oil rely on unsubstantiated proof. Researchers had previously used the same mouse model in an investigation of olive oil, and found that mice fed a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau and experienced memory improvement which is contrary to the effects that canola oil had. "Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain", Domenico Pratico, professor at Temple University in the US.

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The animal model was created to recapitulate Alzheimer's in humans, progressing from an asymptomatic phase in early life to full-blown disease in aged animals. At six months of age, when the mice still had no symptoms, they were split into two groups. Mice on the canola oil diet had suffered memory impairments. One of the first differences observed was in body weight - animals on the canola oil-enriched diet weighed significantly more than mice on the regular diet.

The decline in cognitive function in the group of mice fed the oil-rich diet also corresponded to chemical changes in the brain. But amyloid beta 1-40 actually helps prevent those clumps from forming by buffering amyloid beta 1-42, an insoluble form of the protein, so a reduction isn't a good thing. The team used 6-month-old mouse models to test the link between the oil and its influence on Alzheimer's disease.

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Maze tests were used to assess working memory, short-term memory, and learning ability that uncovered additional differences. "Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy", Pratico concluded.

The findings suggest that long-term consumption of canola oil may not be beneficial to your brain health. The next step these researchers would like to take is studying the effects of consumption of canola oil over a shorter duration to find the minimum effects of exposure.

"There is a chance", Dr. Praticò adds, "that the consumption of canola oil could also affect the onset and course of other neurodegenerative diseases or other forms of dementia".

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