Brain health is linked to that of the gut, it is the famous gut-brain axis of which scientists are studying the mechanisms of action. From today a new piece is added to this fascinating puzzle. In fact, American scientists from Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina, have observed that with a modified type of Mediterranean diet it is possible to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's. The results of the study have been published in the journal EBioMedicine (Nagpal et al, EBioMedicine, Sep 2020).
In particular, the researchers were able to analyze in detail the microbiota, that is, the population of gut bacteria, both in healthy people and in people with mild cognitive impairment. What emerged was that in the microbiota of people with mild cognitive impairment particular families of fungi were in a higher quantity. These fungi are a sort of indicator of this condition affecting the brain. It should be emphasized that mild cognitive impairment represents a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's. The researchers then subjected study participants, 17 people, for 6 weeks to a type of modified Mediterranean diet, called the ketogenic Mediterranean diet. This diet involves a moderate consumption of carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and fats and proteins deriving mainly from extra virgin olive oil and fish. After six weeks, the microbiota had changed and the markers of Alzheimer's in the cerebrospinal fluid had decreased.
The study is limited, in fact it was conducted on a very small sample. However, it is in any case very important because it is added to other research that increasingly, in recent years, are linking what you eat to gut and brain health.