A long-term diet containing three tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil daily, perhaps starting at a young age, protects against Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, according to the results of the MICOIL pilot randomized study.
In the context of the study, scientists from AUTH and the Hellenic Society of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, investigated for the first time the effect of the Greek, high phenol content of early harvest extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) against the medium phenol content of extra virgin olive oil – and of the Mediterranean diet as a natural treatment for amnesic-type mild mental disorder, which is usually a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and is characterized by memory loss and the inability to perform complex activities of daily living. In addition, genetic predisposition (APOE ε4) to Alzheimer’s disease was examined and extensive neuropsychological assessments were performed at baseline and after 12 months.
It is noted that while there is no cure for mild mental disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, (apart from symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s), the global effort against mental disorders is focused on the early detection and management of the disease in the amnesic stage of mild mental disorder.
The study showed that a long-term intervention with a Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil, in 285 participants with high vascular risk, resulted in better cognitive function compared to the control diet group. The participants were divided into three groups, which followed a Mediterranean diet. To the diet of one group was added an amount of 50ml (three tablespoons) of high phenolic early harvest EVOO oil, to the diet of the second group was added 50ml of extra virgin olive oil of moderate phenolic content, while the third group only followed a Mediterranean diet without additional amount of olive oil.
“The MICOIL study showed that long-term intervention with high phenolic early harvest EVOO oil or moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil was associated with a significant improvement in cognitive functions compared to the Mediterranean diet, regardless of the presence of APOE ε4, i.e. regardless of genetic predisposition. Phenols are substances that block the production of free radicals, which are a result of oxidative stress and damage cell membranes. At the second assessment, after 12 months of follow-up, the study revealed better performance in the treatment group compared to the control group. To date, there is no other study that has examined in such a detailed way the effects of Greek extra virgin olive oil on elderly people with mild mental disorder as an effective solution for mental impairment”, told APE-MPE the person in charge of the research, professor at the Department of Medicine of AUTH, Magda Tsolakis.
The scientific team consists of the professor of the Department of Medicine of the AUTH, Magda Tsolakis, and the researchers: Eftychia Lazarou, Machi Kozori, Niki Petridou, Irini Tabaki, Iulietta Lazarou, Maria Karakota, Iordani Saulidi, Eleni Melliou, as well as the deputy. professor of the Department of Pharmacy of EKPA, Prokopio Mayati.