Metabolites from Mediterranean diet may help prevent cognitive decline

An elderly man wearing a long beard and glasses looks at this tablet computer smiling as he eats a Mediterranean salad with a glass of red wineshare on pinterest
Metabolites from a healthy diet may help protect brain health, according to new research. Evan Jenner/Stoxy
  • Studies suggest that levels of certain blood metabolites, which are intermediates or end products of human metabolism, are associated with cognitive function.
  • Blood metabolite levels are influenced by health status, genetics and environmental factors, and may vary between different ethnic or racial groups.
  • A recent study characterized blood metabolites that were associated with cognitive function among different ethnic/racial groups.
  • The study findings suggest that dietary habits may potentially affect the levels of these metabolites and subsequent cognitive performance, thereby highlighting the importance of a healthy diet.

Individuals from minority ethnic or racial groups are often underrepresented in research, thus hindering the understanding of risk factors in these minority groups and the efficacy of treatment for diseases.

A recent study published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia found that levels of six plasma metabolites were associated with reduced cognitive function in all racial/ethnic groups, and that levels of most of these blood metabolites were associated with adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

talking to medical news todaycorresponding author of the study Doctor. Tamar SofferA professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University said:

“We have identified certain metabolites (small molecules) in the blood that their levels are related to cognitive function, and they are all related to diet. While clinical trials are showing that diet can affect cognitive function, specific Identifying metabolites may help identify [a] specific system, specific components of [a] diets that are more important than others, and biomarkers to measure [the] Diet change success.”

However, Dr Sofer said that “there is still work to be done to complete these steps, but it is a good start, especially because the results have been conducted in a few different studies, so the findings are very reliable.”

Technological advances have made it possible to profile hundreds of metabolites simultaneously and to identify metabolites associated with the diseased state. For example, studies have shown that the levels of plasma metabolites are associated with cognitive function And Madness,

Characterization of metabolites linked to cognitive function may help researchers understand Mechanisms underlying the development of dementia. In addition, blood metabolites can be easily measured and serve as biomarkers for cognitive function.

Older Puerto Rican individuals included in the previous study Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (BPRHS) showed that the level of 13 Blood Metabolites were associated with global cognitive function, which is a composite measure of multiple cognitive abilities.

Metabolite levels are influenced by interactions between genetics, health status, and environmental factors, including diet, other lifestyle factors, and socioeconomic factorswhich may vary between and among ethnic/racial groups.

Given the influence of several such factors on blood metabolite levels, the study’s authors investigated whether the BPRHS results could be replicated in a different sample of individuals of Puerto Rican heritage in the United States. The researchers also examined whether these findings could be generalized to broader Hispanic/Latino populations and other ethnic groups.

Several metabolites identified by BPRHS have been shown to be affected by dietary habits. Thus, modifying one’s dietary habits can potentially help maintain cognitive health.

Therefore, the study authors also examined the causal role of blood metabolites and dietary habits in influencing cognitive function.

To assess the generalizability of results from BPRHS to the wider Hispanic/Latino population in the US, researchers used data from 2,222 adults enrolled in Community Health Studies / Latino Studies (HCHS / SOL), The HCHS/SOL is a longitudinal cohort study that examines the health of individuals of various Hispanic/Latino backgrounds, including people of Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American, and South American descent.

Using blood samples from the HCHS/SOL group, the researchers were able to estimate the levels of 11 of the 13 metabolites assessed by the BPRHS.

They found that the direction of the effect of blood metabolites on cognitive function in HCHS/SOL Puerto Rican and all HCHS/SOL participants was similar to that observed in BPRHS.

In addition, there was a significant association between the levels of certain metabolites with global cognitive function in HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants.

Among these metabolites, high levels of beta-cryptoxanthin and low levels of gamma-CEHC glucuronide were associated with cognitive function in both HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants.

To examine the association between blood metabolites and cognitive function in other racial/ethnic groups, the researchers used data from 1,365 European Americans and 478 African Americans. Atherosclerosis Risk (ARIC) in Communities study. The researchers then conducted a meta-analysis to assess the association between blood metabolite levels and cognitive function using data from the BPRHS, HCHS/SOL and ARIC studies.

The meta-analysis revealed that six blood metabolites were associated with reduced cognitive function in all ethnic/racial groups. Four of the six metabolites associated with overall cognitive function were sugars, including glucose, ribitol, mannose, and mannitol/sorbitol.

Since the previous analysis only showed an association between the metabolites and cognitive function, the researchers conducted additional analyzes to determine whether any of the blood metabolites had any effect on cognitive function.

Of the six metabolites, the analysis revealed only a possible causal effect of ribitol on cognitive function.

The researchers also assessed the association between dietary habits, including adherence to the Mediterranean diet and intake of food groups (i.e. consumption of legumes, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc.), and blood metabolite levels.

They found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet or its component food groups was related to many of the blood metabolites assessed in the study.

Specifically, the strongest association was observed between beta-cryptoxanthin and fruit intake in HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants.

Beta-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid that contains Antioxidants Properties found in fruits and vegetables, and beta-cryptoxanthin levels linked to lower risk insulin resistance and liver dysfunction.

The researchers then examined whether the consumption of specific food groups had any effect on cognitive performance.

Although food groups played an important role in cognitive performance, intake of specific food groups had a very strong causal effect of cognitive function. Cognitive function is associated with socioeconomic status, which may mediate the effects of cognitive status on dietary habits.

In summary, these results suggest that dietary habits may potentially affect cognitive performance by modulating blood metabolite levels.

The authors acknowledge that the study had some limitations. They noted that the BRPHS, HCHS/SOL, and ARIC studies have used different methods to assess cognitive function, and that causal effects of metabolites on cognitive function should be interpreted with caution.

Doctor. Parminder SachdevProfessor of Neuropsychiatry at the University of New South Wales, who was not involved in the study, explained MNT,

“There are many challenges in interpreting these results with respect to the role of specific nutritional groups and brain health. This is a cross-sectional study from which a causal relationship cannot be drawn. nutrition affect brain health, but poor cognitive function may also affect nutrition, suggesting a bi-directional relationship.”

Furthermore, Dr. Sachdev also notes that “blood metabolites have many determinants, with diet being only one. Genetic factors, health co-morbidities and lifestyle are all important. Direct attribution of diet is therefore difficult.” ”

,[T]Their study is a step in the right direction with respect to investigating the role of diet and body metabolism for brain health. This provides suggestive evidence that following a good diet, such as the Mediterranean-style diet, may be beneficial for brain health over a wide age range. ,
-Doctor. Parminder Sachdev

Dr. Sachdev said that more work is still needed.

“Before we can begin interpreting such studies we need to better understand plasma metabolism to know what determines their blood levels. We need longitudinal studies with multiple measurements in larger samples, After this intervention studies should be done, so that the causal relationship can be established,” he said.

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