There are many factors that can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent studies have linked diabetes with Alzheimer’s disease(1), but did you know that something as seemingly insignificant as how you like your steak can have a say in your tendency towards developing the disease?
Scientists have discovered that compounds which form in certain foods as we brown or blacken them may increase your risk for Alzheimer’s or age-related dementia.
Overcooked Meat Creates Compounds Known as Glycotoxins
Last year, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai in the US found a link between diets high in glycotoxins – compounds that form in specific foods as they cook – to not only age-related dementia, but also obesity and diabetes as well.
They studied these links in both human and mouse models, eventually publishing their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(2).
Related: 9 Key Lifestyle Changes for Preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Researchers on the study found that mice which were fed a diet full of glycotoxins were statistically more likely to develop cognitive and movement problems consistent with age-related dementia than mice fed a diet low in glycotoxins.
But that’s not all – the mice fed the diet high in glycotoxins also showed increased amounts of amyloid beta proteins in their brains – the same proteins that form amyloid plaques in the brain, one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
From Mice To Humans
With the hypothesis confirmed in the mouse model, the research team then moved on to testing their theory in humans. 93 individuals over the age of 60 were monitored over a period of nine months, and asked how often they consumed glycotoxins. This data was measured against their cognitive function and insulin sensitivity.
What the researchers found was consistent with their previous research in mice: the participants who consumed more glycotoxins experienced more cognitive decline than their peers, as well as less insulin sensitivity.
More Research To Be Done
While the results of the human study were compelling, it’s impossible for researchers to know exactly how much glycotoxins the subjects were eating without monitoring them in a lab setting. However, the results of this recent study are significant enough to warrant further investigation.
It’s possible that eating rarer meat could be a simple way to reduce the risk of developing age-related dementia.
“These studies are only preliminary and more evidence is required in the form of large scale epidemiological studies before we start recommending how to best cook our food,” said Michael Woodward, a dementia researcher from Austin Health in Australia.(3)
“However, this study further adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests what you eat… can be linked to diseases such as dementia, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”