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Why You Might Want More Amino Acids In Your Diet As You Age, According To Research

Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Unrecognizable Woman Eating a Bowl of Cereal In Her Kitchen

We all want to protect our brains as we age, but how exactly can we do that? According to new research published in Science Advances, we might want to look to essential amino acids. Here's what the study found.

Studying amino acids.

Previous research has suggested that consuming seven selected essential amino acids can lead to both improvements in attention and cognitive flexibility, as well as improvements in psychosocial functioning. To build on these findings, researchers wanted to know if these amino acids could slow brain degeneration (and protect against dementia).

In the most recent study, researchers observed how mice on a low-protein diet showed accelerated brain degeneration, as well as poor neuronal connectivity. As study co-author Makoto Higuchi, Ph.D., explains in a news release, "In older [adults], low protein diets are linked to poor maintenance of brain function. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins."

Then, they looked at how supplementation of Amino LP7 (a supplement with seven specific amino acids) affected the stages of brain degeneration in a mice model of Alzheimer's disease, and why.

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What they found.

Abnormal protein aggregates in the brain, called "Tau," are a telltale characteristic of Alzheimer's. But interestingly enough, this study demonstrated Amino LP7 supplementation may reverse the aforementioned negative effects of a low-protein diet in mice, even with Tau aggregates.

"We have shown that it is possible to overcome this Tau deposition and prevent brain atrophy via supplementation with Amino LP7," Akihiko Kitamura, Ph.D., says. But why?

Based on their findings, it appears Amino LP7 may protect the brain by reducing brain inflammation, as well as preventing kynurenine, an inflammation inducer, from getting into the brain in the first place. Not only does this prevent inflammatory immune cells from attacking existing neurons, but Amino LP7 may also reduce neuronal death, plus improve neuronal connectivity and overall brain function.

The takeaway.

The study authors note this is the first research of its kind to find that specific amino acids may inhibit the development of dementia. "Although our study was performed in mice," they add, "it brings hope that amino acid intake could also modify the development of dementias in humans, including Alzheimer's disease."

The bottom line is, this is great news for anyone concerned with brain health, aging, and cognitive decline. While more research is necessary to confirm the brain-protecting effects of Amino LP7 on humans, in the meantime, it's one more good reason to get enough essential amino acids in your diet.

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