The consumption of meat and fatty animal products is linked to Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in Western countries and it’s increasingly being linked to diet and lifestyle. This large study gathered all available data and revealed that there is a strong connection between diets based on meat, eggs and high-fat dairy products. This link has been observed worldwide and is particularly noticeable in countries that moved from traditional diets towards Western ones.
It suggests that meat and eggs promote the concentration of certain metals in the brain as they are sources of copper, iron, cadmium, lead, mercury and other heavy metals and the saturated fats these foods contain facilitates absorption. Animal products – and meat and dairy in particular - also increase the body’s production of IGF-1, a growth factor linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The paper suggests there are also other biochemical changes that Western diets can trigger in the body and further increase the risk of dementia. On the other hand, plant-based diets have been linked only to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and data from all around the world agree.
The author suggests that reducing meat consumption could not only significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease but could also cut the risk of several cancers, type 2 diabetes, stroke and chronic kidney disease.
On a practical note, low levels of vitamins D and B12 are also considered a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease so make sure to take a supplement!
Grant WB, 2016. Using Multicountry Ecological and Observational Studies to Determine Dietary Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 35 (5) 476-489.