Alzheimer’s disease is common in middle to old age people and a certain type of fungi in the human gut controls its progression. Those who have this fungal strain inside their gut are subjected to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which, if ignored can be a risk for Alzheimer’s in later years. On the other side, it can be changed just by a simple dietary habit.
The ketogenic or keto diet is probably the most popular diet of this year and the biggest benefit of this diet is weight loss. people from all parts of the world religiously follow a keto diet to get rid of excessive fat. For some people, a keto diet is just a weight-loss tool but researchers believe it is much more than that.
A modified version of the Mediterranean keto diet is linked with a change in the human gut microbiome, reducing the effect of fungi that is responsible for the cognitive loss. The researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine organized a small experiment to analyze and study this change. The complete findings of their study are published in the journal EBioMedicine. Click here to read it.
Hariom Yadav teaches molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine and is the principal investigator and author of this study. He is also a member of the Wake Forest Baptist Health. According to Yadav, this study finds a way to change the microbes co-existing in the human gut just by simple dietary changes. As a result of this, the person may experience a low risk of Alzheimer’s in later years of life.
This study was a small, single-center study where Yadav and his team worked on identifying the microbes inside the human gut. They were able to identify and sequence a fungal rRNA ITS1 gene from 17 participants. 11 of these patients were identified with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 6 of them were healthy.
After six weeks of using a customized version of the Mediterranean ketogenic diet they were analyses again and identified with the presence of these fungi. This fungus is reportedly involved with Alzheimer’s markers especially in the cerebrospinal fluid as well as gut bacteria which may explain a connection with this age-related cognitive loss.
At this point, there is no clear explanation of how these two are linked but this is the first-ever study that has identified this connection. It may inspire other researchers to work on understanding this connection, which if understood can help to prevent Alzheimer’s an early age.
At least 5 million US citizens are living with Alzheimer’s and 80% percent of them are over the age of 75 years. Only if there is a treatment to prevent the cognitive decline in its early ages, all these people can be saved from this.
In addition to the cognitive benefits, the research team has explained the role of a diet and how it changes the body’s response and risk of certain diseases. Mediterranean keto diet is generally considered healthy and safe and if its role in disease prevention is clear, it may inspire more people to follow it.