Dietary choices influence the health, science has demonstrated this. In particular, diet may play a role in determining the risk of developing chronic illnesses, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and yes, also Alzheimer. Among all the possible lifestyles the Mediterranean diet is the most studied and commonly accepted as a balanced diet and able to bring benefits to the body and, above all, to the health of brain through a mechanism involving a part of the body that, at the first sight, seems to not be connected with the brain, the intestinal flora also called microbiota. Some days ago a research was published in EBioMedicine, the magazine of The Lancet, the prestigious scientific journal, by an American team of the Wake Forest School of Medicine (Nagpal et al, 2019), where the scientists have observed that the intestinal flora may show particular signatures of Alzheimer and that a change in this flora may have beneficial effect in counteracting this illness.
Recently, the scientists have started to consider that alterations of microbiota may play a role in initiation and exacerbation of Alzheimer by increasing the inflammatory levels in the body. In the study that we propose today the researchers have analyzed the microbiota of healthy people and persons who suffered of a mild cognitive impairment. Well, some differences in the bacteria populations have emerged and this has allowed to understand that the people with mild Alzheimer are in a conditions of unbalanced bacterial flora, called dysbiosis. The researchers managed also to link some strains of bacteria, abundant in persons with Alzheimer, to high markers of this illness. In addition to this, the scientists have also observed that a particular type of diet, called Mediterranean-ketogenic diet, may alter the microbiota and the markers of Alzheimer. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, a limited intake of carbohydrates and a high intake of healthy fats such as that obtained from extra virgin olive oil and fish. The participants to the study followed for 6 weeks this type of diet that, according to the results, restored the balance in microbiota and reduced the markers of Alzheimer, both in healthy people and in persons with Alzheimer.
The study isn’t lacking in limitations. Indeed, the studied sample is very small, just 17 persons, and for a short period of time. However, it is really important because joins other studies, all recent, that are shedding new light on an illness such as Alzheimer and its connection with the health of intestinal microbiota. This may in fact pave the way for new treatments and preventive care.