A recent study, conducted by Dr. Domenico Praticò of Temple University and published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that canola oil may contribute to the aggravation of memory issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, researchers concluded that this type of oil may also contribute to weight gain.
How Does Canola Oil Undermine the Neurological Health?
Canola oil is a type of rapeseed extract derived from a plant related to members of the cabbage family. The oil has a “heart healthy” reputation and has been shown to lower cholesterol. This reputation as being good for the cardiovascular health, combined with the relatively cheap cost of the oil, has made it increasingly popular in the United States. But canola oil may not be all that it seems.
Dr. Praticò and his team exposed lab mice to the rapeseed oil over a period of time of 6 months. They did so to measure how this contributed to the increase in the number of amyloid-beta plaques in their brain. Amyloid-beta plaques are associated with several neurological diseases, chiefly Alzheimer’s, although the exact nature of how they interact with or lead to memory loss has yet to be conclusively proven. Nevertheless, Dr. Praticò’s team saw significant increases a regular plaque buildups in the mice exposed to large doses (roughly the equivalent of two teaspoons worth in a human) of canola oil.
Researchers then compared how the mice that had been exposed to the oil performed in a maze relative to a control group that had been fed a normal diet. The mice that had been dosed with the oil performed significantly worse than the normal ones. They also seemed to be struggling to complete the maze due to their unexpected weight gain.
Now Dr. Praticò’s team will refocus its efforts on attempting to determine how much oil caused the degenerative effects seen in their first study, and how long the exposure must persist to reach the previously observed results. Despite Dr. Praticò’s compelling research, canola oil is still considered healthy by many nutritionists and other healthcare professionals, so more research is needed to determine its actual nature and benefits or disadvantages.
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