A new mouse study revealed that canola oil is linked to a faster cognitive decline and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition that affects more and more seniors in the developed world.
The findings, which recently appeared in the journal Scientific Reports, has long been touted as a healthier alternative to saturated fats. Nevertheless, its health benefits have not been thoroughly studied until now.
The latest research is the first to suggest that this plant oil can do more harm than good to one’s health.
Lead author Dr. Domenico Praticò noted that canola oil is more popular than other healthy oils like olive oil because it is cheaper. Plus, people buy canola oil because ads suggest it is healthier than other oils.
Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain,
Dr. Praticò said.
In their study, Praticò and his team zoomed in on the vegetable oil’s effect on the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain which is a telltale sign of early onset of Alzheimer’s.
When amyloid plaques are mixed with phosphorylated tau, they lead to the buildup of neurofibrillary tangles which impair brain function and lead to memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers tried to replicate the disease in older mice while analyzing the symptoms of early onset and those of a full-blown condition.
In a separate study, scientists analyzed the effects of olive oil consumption on mice’s brain health. That study revealed that extra-virgin olive oil reduced the number of amyloid plaques and other hazardous buildups in the brain and improved the overall brain function.
In the latest research, the team wanted to know whether canola oil has similar health benefits. The 12-month study also showed that mice on a canola-oil enriched diet gained significantly more weight than rodents on regular diets.