According to recent research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, switching to a green Mediterranean diet has a good impact on brain function. A DIRECT-PLUS trial substudy found that losing weight slowed brain aging.
DIRECT PLUS was a large-scale, prolonged clinical trial with 300 participants that lasted 18 months. Dr. Gidon Levakov, a former graduate student of the Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and Prof. Galia Avidan of the Department of Psychology carried out the sub-study.
The Findings by eLife
Recently, eLife released their research findings. Prof. Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, an adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and an honorary professor at the University of Leipzig in Germany served as the study’s principal investigator.
Obesity is associated with the brain aging more quickly than one may anticipate. The ‘brain aging’ of a person, or how old their brain appears on thorough scans, regardless of their chronological age, allows researchers to study this process. This method aids in examining the relatively short-term effects of many factors, such as lifestyle, on brain ageing.
Biological Impacts of Fat
Researchers Levakov, Kaplan, Shai, and Avidan looked at 102 people who had obesity. At the start and end of the programme, participants underwent brain scans. Additional examinations and measures were also carried out at these times to track other biological systems impacted by fat, such as liver health.
The findings showed that participants’ brain aging were over 9 months younger than expected after 18 months with a 1% drop in body weight. Changes in other biological parameters, such as lower liver fat and liver enzymes, were linked to this attenuated ageing.
Prior studies have demonstrated a detrimental impact on brain health in Alzheimer’s disease patients’ liver fat levels and the generation of particular liver enzymes. In order to maintain brain function, Dr. Levakov believes that “our study highlights the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including lower consumption of processed food, sweets, and beverages.”