The Junk food or overly processed food has one inflammatory function in the brains of aged rats that were subjected to an unhealthy diet showed cognitive difficulties and memory loss. The young rats, on the other hand, were not affected by the diet based on excessively processed foods.
There Research was published in the scientific journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
Junk food: How a diet of overly processed foods can cause memory loss
Diet rich in overly processed foods or junk food is also associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes, suggesting that older consumers may want to cut back on convenience foods and add DHA-rich foods, such as salmon, to their diets, especially when you consider that brain damage occurred in just four weeks.
“The fact that we are seeing these effects so quickly is a little alarmingSaid the studio’s senior autriy Ruth Barrientos, researcher at theOhio State University Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health.
“These results indicate that consuming an elaborate diet can produce significant and sudden memory deficits and in the aging population, rapid memory decline is more likely to progress to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. By being aware of this, perhaps we can limit the processed foods in our diet and increase the consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid DHA to prevent or slow this progression. “
Barrientos’ lab observed how daily life events, such as surgery, infection, or, in this case, an unhealthy junk food diet, could trigger inflammation in the aging brain, with a specific focus. on the hippocampus and amygdala regions.
This work builds on previous research that has intuited how a short-term high-fat diet can lead to memory loss and brain inflammation in older animals, and that DHA levels are lower in the hippocampus and amygdala. of the brain of an elderly rat.
The DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is a fatty acid Omega 3 present together witheicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in fish and other seafood. Among the multiple functions of DHA in the brain is a role in repelling an inflammatory response: this is the first study on its ability to act against brain inflammation caused by an elaborate diet.
The research team randomly chose 3- and 24-month-old male rats on a regular food diet (32% calories from protein, 54% from wheat-based complex carbohydrates and 14% from fat), a highly processed (19.6% calories from protein, 63.3% from refined carbohydrates (corn starch, maltodextrin and sucrose) and 17.1% from fat) or the same processed diet supplemented with DHA.
The activation of genes linked to a potent pro-inflammatory protein and other markers of inflammation was significantly elevated in the hippocampus and amygdala of older rats who ate only junk food compared to young rats on any diet and older rats that ate the processed food supplemented DHA.
THE Older rats on the elaborate diet also showed signs of memory loss in behavioral experiments that were not evident in young rats.
They forgot that they spent time in an unfamiliar space in a few days, a sign of problems with contextual memory in the hippocampus, and did not exhibit anticipatory fear behavior at a distress signal, suggesting the presence of abnormalities in the amygdala.
“The amygdala in humans is implicated in memories associated with emotional events that produce fear and anxiety. If this brain region is dysfunctional, signs that predict danger can be lost and could lead to bad decisions“, Barrientos said.
The results also showed that supplementing DHA in the diets of processed foods consumed by older rats effectively prevented the elevated inflammatory response in the brain as well as the behavioral signs of memory loss.
Researchers do not know the exact dosage of DHA, or the precise calories and nutrients, taken by the animals, which all had unrestricted access to food. Both different age groups gained a significant amount of weight on the elaborate diet, and older rats had more weight gain than younger rats. DHA supplementation had no preventive effect on weight gain associated with consuming junk food.
This was a key finding: Barrientos cautioned against interpreting the results as a license for consumers to feast on processed foods as long as they take a DHA supplement. A better bet for preventing multiple negative effects of highly refined foods would be to focus on overall diet improvement.
“These are the types of diets that are advertised as being low in fat but are highly processed. They have no fiber and have refined carbohydrates which are also known as low quality carbohydrates “, concluded: “People who are used to looking at nutritional information need to pay attention to fiber and carbohydrate quality. This study really shows what these things are important“.