Canola oil is a widely used vegetable oil and is often advertised as healthy. However, a new research reveals that consumption of canola oil could worsen memory and learning ability as well as increase the weight in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings of the research were published online in the journal Scientific Reports on December 7. The study was led by researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM). The research indicates that canola oil could be harmful than healthy for the brain, according to Medical Xpress.
Domenico Pratico, MD, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and Director of the Alzheimer’s Center at LKSOM, said that canola oil is appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils and is seen as healthy. However, very few studies have examined that claim especially in terms of the brain, added Dr. Pratico.
In the study, the scientists examined mice engineered to have Alzheimer’s disease. Six months after birth, the mice were split into two groups. That time, the mice still had no symptoms.
The first group of mice was given a normal diet. Meanwhile, the second group had a normal diet and two tablespoons of canola oil every day.
After six months, the maze tests indicated that mice on the canola diet experienced a decrease in their working memory capacities compared to the first group. The canola diet group also increased in weight compared to the non-canola diet group.
In addition, the canola diet group experienced a reduction in levels of a protein called amyloid beta 1-40. These substances form the sticky clumps in the brain and prevent those clumps from creating and protecting the amyloid beta 1-42, which is an insoluble form of the protein. Some studies in the past showed that reduction of this substance was not good.
This resulted in an increase in amyloid plaques that wrapped around the neurons of mice on the canola diet. This lessened the number of contacts between them, leading to synapse injuries.
Synapses are the keys to memory functions. In the study, the synapses of the mice in the canola diet group were affected. It showed that the mice’s ability to run the maze decreased, according to New Atlas.
Dr. Pratico said that even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, people need to be careful before they could say that it is healthy. He further said that based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.
These oils with health benefits include olive oils. According to researchers, olive oils could reduce the amyloid plaques in mouse models as shown in the results of an earlier study this year.