Alzheimer’s risk and protein consumption levels linked

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 28th February 2018

A diet high in protein rich foods reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease Australian research has found.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University studied the diets of 541 Australians and measured the levels of amyloid beta in their brain, a precursor to Alzheimer’s.

The researchers found that those with higher levels of protein in their diet were less likely to have higher levels of amyloid beta in their brain, reducing their risk of getting Alzheimer’s.

Study participants were split into three groups based on their protein intake. Participants who had the highest level of protein in their diet, approximately 118g a day, were 12 times less likely to have high levels of amyloid beta when compared to those with the lowest level of protein, consuming about 54g a day.

Lead researcher, Dr Binosha Fernando, said the study was the first to examine the relationship between protein intake and amyloid beta.

“The research clearly demonstrates that the more protein eaten the lower the chances someone has of having a high amyloid beta burden on the brain, which corresponds to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the future,” Dr Fernando said.

Although the researchers found the link, Dr Fernando said it is still unknown what is driving the link between high protein and low amyloid beta.

“One possibility is that previous studies have shown that a high protein diet is associated with lower blood pressure,” Dr Fernando said.

“High blood pressure is a risk factor for both Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. We also know that developing cardiovascular disease increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dr Fernando said the next step is to further examine what role gender, genetics, age and metabolic factors play in the relationship between protein consumption and Alzheimer’s disease.


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