Cooking with canola oil is very common, but a new study could make you think before replacing it with the popular olive tree. Researchers from Temple University discovered that canola decreased learning ability, inhibited memory and increased the weight of mice with Alzheimer's disease.
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The findings were published today in Scientific Reports and offer a new insight into how the very common product might be affecting our brains. There is very little current research on this area.
"Canola oil is attractive because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as healthy," said study co-author Dr. Domenico Praticò, in a statement. "Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain." Praticò runs the Alzheimer's Center at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.
The team used mice designed to have Alzheimer's disease, dividing them into two groups when they were six months old (before the signs appeared). The control group was given a standard diet and the experimental group was given a supplement equivalent to approximately two tablespoons of canola oil per day.
When the animals were evaluated at one year of age, the team noticed a big difference: mice that consumed canola oil were heavier than their control counterparts. But then, the scientists tested the animals to study short-term memory, working memory (which helps us remember things like our favorite pie recipe) and how well mice could learn. They found that mice that consumed canola oil had poor performance in all three areas.
According to MedicalXpress, the tests also revealed that the animals had less protein known as amyloid beta 1-40, which offers protection against another amyloid-beta protein, 1- 42, (also known as beta-amyloid 42) that can damage our brains. This decrease led to more amyloid plaques, a marker of Alzheimer's disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, patients with the disease develop these plaques after the toxic beta-amyloid 42 pools in the brain, inhibiting normal function.
"Amyloid beta 1-40 neutralizes the actions of amyloid 1-42, which means that a decrease in 1-40, like the one observed in our study, leaves 1-42 unchecked," explained Praticò on MedicalXpress.
In simple terms, Amyloid beta 1-40 was not able to offer its normal protection against amyloid 1-42 because there were fewer of these molecules acting as a buffer, which scientists believe could be due to eating canola oil.
"In our model, this change in the ratio resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neuronal contacts and memory impairment," said Praticò
Scientists plan to conduct another study to determine how canola oil affects health cerebral in the short term, and if it causes the appearance of other diseases.
"We also want to know if the negative effects of canola oil are specific for Alzheimer's disease," said Praticò. "There is a possibility that the consumption of canola oil may also affect the onset and course of other neurodegenerative diseases or other forms of dementia."
Made from genetically modified rapeseed, a plant in the mustard family, canola oil has often been considered a healthier choice for cooking because it is low in saturated fat and has been shown to lower cholesterol in comparison with the diets with a higher content of saturated fats. (Fun fact: the word "canola" is a combination of Canada, which refers to its Canadian origins, and oleum, which in Latin means oil)
Despite its prevalence in our diets, this new research suggests that it is You may want to dig deeper into learning about the oil before using it as your goal, which brings up a whole new puzzle, since olive oil is not made for cooking at high temperature. Bon Appetit recommends options such as avocado, sunflower and grapeseed oils for their higher smoke points.