A Mediterranean-Keto Diet May Reduce Markers Of Alzheimer's, Study Finds

Editorial Assistant By Jamie Schneider
Editorial Assistant

Jamie Schneider is the Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She's previously written for Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Cameron Whitman / Stocksy

It seems that there's yet another reason to care for your gut—the health of our gut microbiome is not only essential for digestion but for cognitive function as well. 

In a study conducted by Wake Forest School of Medicine, researchers found that there were several distinct gut microbiome similarities in participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and these bacterial similarities correlated with higher levels of markers of Alzheimer's

Even further, these scientists tested whether a modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet could somehow change the gut microbiome and could reduce these Alzheimer's markers. 

During the study, 17 adults (11 with diagnosed MCI and six with normal cognition) were randomly assigned to follow either the Mediterranean-ketogenic diet or a low-fat, higher carbohydrate diet for six weeks. After this six-week period, the two groups would switch diets. 

After the 12 weeks, the scientists found that the Mediterranean-ketogenic diet did, in fact, produce changes in the gut microbiome that correlated with reduced levels of Alzheimer's markers within both study groups. That being said, not only did this diet benefit individuals already diagnosed with MCI, but it also reduced Alzheimer's markers for individuals with normal levels of cognition. 

While these results are preliminary—a much bigger study is necessary to be completely confident with this correlation—the scientists are eager to share their groundbreaking findings with other medical researchers in order to enhance patient care. 

"Our findings provide important information that future interventional and clinical studies can be based on," co-author of the study Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., said in a news release. "Determining the specific role these gut microbiome signatures have in the progression of Alzheimer's disease could lead to novel nutritional and therapeutic approaches that would be effective against the disease."

While you might think the Mediterranean and keto diets are just fads promoted by the likes of celebrities and social media influencers, you can trust that science is supporting this movement toward prioritizing gut health. You may want to invest in some healthy fats, like avocado and olive oil, to make sure your body and mind stay sharp.   

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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