Sorry meat-lovers. A new study has found diets high in red meat may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Through brain scans of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers found that iron buildup in the brain is linked to tissue damage in those suffering from the disease. It also appears to leave certain areas of the brain more vulnerable to the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
Although this study did not prove that Alzheimer’s is caused by high iron levels in the brain, the research suggests that it “may indeed contribute to the cause.”
And what factors contribute to iron buildup in the brain? Researchers say the main culprits are red meat and iron dietary supplements. Although small amount of iron is necessary for proper cell function, many researchers believe that it can be very dangerous to the body in higher amounts.
According to the study’s leader, Professor George Bartzokis, “[t]he increase in iron is occurring together with the tissue damage [in Alzheimer's patients]… So the results suggest that iron accumulation may indeed contribute to the cause of Alzheimer’s.”
Doctor Marie Janson, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, believes that the new information revealed in this study may be used to educate and protect many people from the disease through a change in lifestyle. She said “[t]he accumulation of iron in the brain may be influenced by modifying environmental factors, such as how much red meat and iron dietary supplements we consume and, in women, having hysterectomies before menopause.”
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