Alzheimer’s patients could help alleviate symptoms by eating this food: study – New York Post

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Are pomegranates the next brain food?

The link between diet and dementia has been well-documented, and now researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the U.S. National Institute on Aging have found that eating more pomegranates, strawberries and walnuts could help improve memory among Alzheimer’s patients.

Those foods contain a substance called urolithin A, a compound created by gut bacteria.

“Our study on mouse models with Alzheimer’s disease shows that urolithin A, which is a naturally occurring substance in pomegranates, can alleviate memory problems and other consequences of dementia,” said Vilhelm Bohr, affiliate professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, in a press release.

In patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the brain has trouble removing weak mitochondria, which builds up and impairs brain function.

Utolithin A has been shown to remove weak mitochondria from the brain, thus restoring cognitive function, the researchers found.

Study from the University of Copenhagen and the U.S. National Institute on Aging shows pomegranates could be the next brain food. Nitr – stock.adobe.com

The study findings were published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Researchers aren’t sure how much of the substance is needed to achieve positive results.

“We still cannot say anything conclusive about the dosage, but I imagine that it is more than a pomegranate a day,” Bohr said. 

“However, the substance is already available in pill form, and we are currently trying to find the right dosage.”

Utolithin A could ideally be used as a safe way to prevent neurological diseases, he noted.

“The advantage of working with a natural substance is the reduced risk of side effects,” he said. 

“Clinical trials with Urolithin A have been effective in muscular disease, and now we need to look at Alzheimer’s disease.”

Based on the “promising results” seen in the mouse models, the researchers are planning to conduct clinical trials on humans.

The study finds that pomegrantes can help with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com

Tanya Freirich, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina, was not involved in the study but shared comments on the findings.

“Long-term urolithin A treatment significantly improved learning, memory and olfactory function (smelling) in mice,” she told Fox News Digital.

“As a dietitian, I always recommend that people discuss any supplement with their personal medical care provider before starting it.”

As the research is still very new and has only been done in mice so far, Freirich noted that the results “cannot be extrapolated to humans with certainty.”  

She added, “I would certainly recommend to anyone that adding pomegranates, strawberries and walnuts to the diet is a great idea.”

“These are whole, unprocessed and very nutritious foods, high in antioxidants and, in the case of walnuts, omega 3s.”

These foods are unlikely to cause any harm if consumed in typical portion sizes, Freirich noted, unless there is an allergy or another specific reason to avoid them.

Other recommended foods for brain health include adequate dietary intake of omega 3s (salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, olive oil), green leafy vegetables, berries, and legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), according to Freirich.

Pomegranates are joining a list of other helpful foods which researchers deem “brain foods.” Getty Images/iStockphoto

Maintaining at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week and keeping the brain sharp with activities and community engagement can also help mitigate Alzheimer’s symptoms, the nutritionist added.

Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based dietitian and author of the book “Belly Fat Diet For Dummies,” who was also not involved in the study, said the “promising” results support other research that has found an association between pomegranates and improved cognition and memory.

“More research needs to be done to identify how much would be needed to achieve cognitive benefits, but adding even small amounts of pomegranate to the diet can be beneficial to overall health,” she told Fox News Digital.

Pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants and fiber, Palinski-Wade noted, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body and lessen future disease risk.

“Adding pomegranate arils into salads, smoothies or on top of yogurt or incorporating 100% pomegranate juice can be a great addition to your diet and an easy way to boost your overall intake of brain-benefiting nutrients,” the nutritionist said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the study researchers and to the Alzheimer’s Association requesting comment.

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