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Mediterranean diet metabolites may help prevent cognitive decline

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  • Studies have shown that levels of certain circulating metabolites, intermediate or end products of human metabolism, are associated with cognitive function.
  • Blood metabolite levels are influenced by health status, genetics, and environmental factors and may vary by ethnic or racial group.
  • A recent study characterized blood metabolites associated with cognitive function in different ethnic/racial groups.
  • The results of this study suggest that dietary habits can influence the levels of these metabolites and subsequently influence cognitive performance, highlighting the importance of a healthy diet. increase.

Individuals from minority ethnic or racial groups are often underrepresented in research, thus hampering our understanding of risk factors and treatment efficacy for disease in these minority groups.

Recent research published in journals Alzheimer’s disease and dementia Levels of six plasma metabolites were associated with cognitive decline in all racial/ethnic groups, and levels of most of these blood metabolites were associated with adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

talk medical news todayThe study’s corresponding author, Dr. Tamar Sofer, a professor at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said:

“We identified several metabolites (small molecules) in the blood whose levels correlated with cognitive function, and they are all related to diet. Diet can affect cognitive function.” There are clinical studies that show that, identifying specific metabolites can help identify [a] specific mechanism, specific component [a] Diets Matter Over Others, and Biomarkers to Measure [the] Successful dietary change. ”

However, Dr. Sofer said, “There is still work to be done to bring these steps to fruition, but this is a good start as the results are very reliable, especially since several different studies have maintained the results. It is,” he added.

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Metabolites from a healthier diet may help protect brain health, according to new research. Ivan Gener / Stocksey

Advances in technology have made it possible to profile hundreds of metabolites at once and identify metabolites associated with disease states. For example, studies have shown that levels of plasma metabolites are associated with cognitive function. dementia.

Characterization of metabolites associated with cognitive function could help researchers to understand Mechanisms underlying the development of dementia. Furthermore, blood metabolites can be easily measured and may serve as biomarkers of cognitive function.

A previous study involving older Puerto Ricans enrolled in Boston Puerto Rico Health Study (BPRHS) showed that levels of 13 blood metabolites were associated with global cognitive function, a composite measure of multiple cognitive abilities.

Metabolite levels are influenced by interactions between genetics, health status, and environmental factors such as diet, other lifestyle factors, and socioeconomic factors, and vary across and within ethnic/racial groups. But it can be different.

Given the effects of such a multitude of factors on blood metabolite levels, the authors of this study investigated whether the BPRHS results could be replicated in another sample of Puerto Ricans in the United States. The researchers also investigated whether these findings could be generalized to the wider Hispanic/Latino population and other ethnic groups.

Several metabolites identified by BPRHS have been shown to be affected by diet. Therefore, improving your diet may help maintain cognitive health.

Therefore, the authors of this study also examined the causal relationship between blood metabolites and dietary habits that affect cognitive function.

To assess whether the BPRHS results are generalizable to the broader Hispanic/Latino population of the United States, researchers used data from 2,222 adults enrolled in the BPRHS. Community Health Study/Latino Study (HCHS/SOL)HCHS/SOL is a longitudinal cohort study examining the health of individuals of various Hispanic/Latino backgrounds, including Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American, and South American descent. is.

Using blood samples from the HCHS/SOL cohort, researchers were able to estimate levels of 11 of the 13 metabolites assessed by BPRHS.

They found that the direction of blood metabolite effects on cognitive function in HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants was similar to that observed in BPRHS.

Furthermore, there were significant correlations between global cognitive function and levels of specific metabolites in HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants.

Among these metabolites, high levels of beta cryptoxanthin and low levels of gamma CEHC glucuronide were associated with cognitive function in both HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants.

To examine associations between blood metabolites and cognitive function in other racial/ethnic groups, researchers used data from 1,365 European Americans and 478 African Americans. Community Atherosclerosis Risk (ARIC) study. The researchers then conducted a meta-analysis to assess the association between blood metabolite levels and cognitive function using data from the BPRHS, HCHS/SOL, and ARIC studies.

A meta-analysis showed that six blood metabolites were associated with cognitive decline in all ethnic/racial groups. Four of the six metabolites associated with global cognitive function were sugars including glucose, ribitol, mannose and mannitol/sorbitol.

Previous analyzes only showed correlations between metabolites and cognitive function, so the researchers performed additional analyzes to determine whether any of the blood metabolites were causally associated with cognitive function. Did.

Of the six metabolites, the analysis revealed a potential causal effect of ribitol alone on cognitive function.

The researchers also found associations between dietary habits, including adherence to the Mediterranean diet and intake of food groups (i.e., intake of legumes, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc.) and blood metabolite levels. was evaluated.

They found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet or its constituent food groups correlated with several blood metabolites evaluated in the study.

Notably, the strongest association was observed between β-cryptoxanthin and fruit intake in HCHS/SOL Puerto Ricans and all HCHS/SOL participants.

β-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties found in fruits and vegetables, and levels of β-cryptoxanthin are associated with a reduced risk of insulin resistance and liver dysfunction.

The researchers then examined whether consumption of specific food groups was causally related to cognitive performance.

Although food groups played a causal role in cognitive performance, cognitive function had a much stronger causal effect on the intake of specific food groups. , which may mediate the effect of cognitive status on diet.

Altogether, these results suggest that dietary habits may affect cognitive performance by modulating blood metabolite levels.

The authors acknowledge that this study had some limitations. They noted that the BRPHS, HCHS/SOL, and ARIC studies used different methods to assess cognitive function and that the causality of metabolites on cognitive function needs to be interpreted with caution. did.

Dr Parminder Satchdev, Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the University of New South Wales, who was not involved in the study, said: MNT:

“There are some challenges in interpreting these results in relation to specific nutritional groups and their role in brain health. This is a cross-sectional study that cannot draw causal relationships. In addition to feeding, cognitive decline may also affect nutrition, suggesting a two-way relationship.

Additionally, Dr. Sachdev said: Genetic factors, health comorbidities, and lifestyle are all important. Therefore, it is difficult to attribute directly to diet. ”

“[T]His research is a step in the right direction when it comes to examining the role of diet and body metabolism on brain health. It provides evidence to suggest that it may be beneficial for brain health.”
— Dr. Perminder Sachdev

Dr. Sachdev added that more work is needed.

“Before we can begin to interpret such studies, we need a better understanding of the plasma metabolome in order to know what determines blood levels. We need a longitudinal study with a measure of , followed by an intervention study,” he said.