Eating a diet high in fat could stave off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and other signs of ageing, new research claims.
High-fat diets postponed signs of ageing including impaired hearing and weight loss, and also stopped ageing of the brain, a study found.
Scientists discovered medium chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, were particularly effective.
They believe the fats help slow down the ageing process, by helping to repair cells and DNA damaged as a result.
As part of the new study, researchers analysed mice with a defective DNA repair system. In humans, this defect causes the disorder Cockayne syndrome, where patients prematurely age as children and have a life-expectancy of between 10 and 12 years.
Researchers found placing a mouse with this defect on a high-fat diet postponed ageing processes such as impaired hearing and weight loss.
It also postponed the ageing of the brain, giving hope to children who age prematurely and patients suffering Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The study’s lead author Professor Vilhelm Bohr, of the University of Copenhagen, said: ‘The study is good news for children with Cockayne syndrome, because we do not currently have an effective treatment.
‘Our study suggests that a high-fat diet can postpone ageing processes. A diet high in fat also seems to postpone the ageing of the brain. ‘The findings therefore potentially imply that patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the long term may benefit from the new knowledge.’Researchers explained our brain has a constant need for fuel in the form of either sugar or ketones.
Ketones are the brain’s fuel reserve, and play an important role in periods of low blood sugar levels, such as when a person is fasting.
This is because the body breaks down fat if it needs sugar, and during this process it produces ketones.
The researchers saw a particular positive effect when the mice were given medium chain fatty acids – coconut oil, for example.
Previous research has shown that in children with Cockayne syndrome, ageing is a result of the cell repair mechanism being constantly active. This means it eats into the cell’s resources and causes it to age very quickly.
‘We therefore hope that a diet with a high content of coconut oil or similar fats will have a beneficial effect, because the brain cells are given extra fuel and thus the strength to repair the damage,’ said Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, from the National Institute of Health, who also carried out the study. The research was published in the journal Cell Metabolism…. see more
source: dailymail UK