The question of diet is at the heart of many research works on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. One of them advocates the “diet that imitates fasting”, a type of diet that would produce positive effects on the main characteristics of the disease. In any case, in mice.
To date, there is no drug capable of treating Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. But knowledge about this disease is increasing as teams of scientists work on this public health issue, which concerns more than 55 million people around the world.
In addition to the researchers working to develop treatments, other teams focus on the origin of the disease, its mechanism, the means of preventing it or slowing its progression. This is how some scientists are studying the food track: does it play a role in the appearance of cognitive disorders? Does adopting a certain type of diet slow down their progression?
The answer is yes, according to the authors of several recent studies. Thus, according to German researchers, the reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
And what if we are interested in the rate at which we absorb these foods? Does he also play a role? This is the subject of the study carried out on mice by American researchers from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and published in the journal Cells reports. They were interested in a very specific type of diet: the FMD diet, like “fasting mimicking diet”, literally “diet mimicking fasting”. It should be noted that the “inventor” of this diet is none other than Professor Valter Lengo, who led the study.
But what is FMD? Less strict and restrictive than a “traditional” fast, it consists of mimicking the effects of fasting while maintaining a sufficient amount of nutrients. It is both high in unsaturated fats (the “good” fats from oils, fatty fish and nuts) and low in calories, protein and carbohydrates. Another characteristic of FMD: this regime is observed over only 5 days.
Reduction of signs of dementia
The experiment was therefore conducted on mice that had developed Alzheimer’s disease after genetic modification. They were fed the FMD diet for two cycles of 4 to 5 days per month, for varying durations. Results: the two main markers of Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid plaques and tau proteins, were clearly reduced in these mice. They also showed a reduction in brain inflammation and a dramatic slowing of cognitive decline.
Would the FMD diet therefore be the ideal diet to prevent Alzheimer’s? If the signs of dementia have indeed been reduced in genetically modified mice, work must continue to verify whether the hypothesis is confirmed in humans. Several clinical trials are underway.