Canola oil linked to Alzheimer's complications in new study

Canola oil linked to Alzheimer's complications in new study

Canola oil is the oil derived from rapeseed. The team used 6-month-old mouse models to test the link between the oil and its influence on Alzheimer's disease.

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.

"Canola oil is appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as being healthy", explained Dr. Domenico Praticò, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and Director of the Alzheimer's Center at the university's school of medicine, as well as senior investigator on the study. "Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain".

Together with Elisabetta Lauretti, a graduate student in Dr. Pratico's lab and co-author of the study, they focused on memory impairment and the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

The maze test revealed to researchers that the mice fed canola oil had a worse working memory and experienced weight gain.

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. Mice on the canola oil diet had suffered memory impairments.

The decline in cognitive function in the group of mice fed the oil-rich diet also corresponded to chemical changes in the brain. 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. This study show that mice fed with a diet high in olive oil had lower levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau, which lead to improved memories.

The mice completed a maze test on their first birthday to test their learning and memory skills.

"Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy", Praticò said. 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.

His team now plans to further its studies into canola oil consumption and also research whether canola oil's effect on the brain is limited to Alzheimer's disease.