New evidence confirms genetic link between gut health and Alzheimer’s disease
Key points to remember
- People with certain gastrointestinal disorders may be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as new data points to a genetic link between the two.
- The findings also link abnormal cholesterol levels to Alzheimer’s disease and gut disorders.
- These new findings could lead to earlier detection and new interventions, such as the use of cholesterol-lowering statins to treat the conditions.
For the first time, researchers have confirmed the link between gastrointestinal disorders and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, which can range from diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome to hemorrhoids, can cause uncomfortable digestive upset and, in some cases, extreme abdominal pain.
According to new data from Australia’s Edith Cowan University, there is a distinct genetic overlap between Alzheimer’s disease and certain gastrointestinal diseases, including:
Interestingly, the same overlap was not seen in people with inflammatory bowel disease.
To determine the link, the researchers assessed the genetic information of 400,000 people who had previously participated in cohort studies.
“Since intestinal disorders were involved [in this study]it makes sense to expect that better gut health could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” study author Emmanuel Adewuyi PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Edith University, told Verywell. Cowan in Western Australia.
Adewuyi explained that despite the link, there is no evidence of causation. In other words, it’s not safe to assume that a gastrointestinal disorder will cause Alzheimer’s disease, or vice versa.
Additionally, the researchers noted that abnormal cholesterol levels were associated with both Alzheimer’s disease and intestinal disorders. As a result, cholesterol-lowering drugs, including statins, can have a positive influence on people with either condition.
Your diet can help reduce your risk
Dietary practices can have a profound impact on our overall health. And the results of this study underscore the importance of managing hyperlipidemia (a high amount of fat in the blood).
The authors of the article suggest that the diet can be effective in preventing and managing hyperlipidemia without the need to use medications, specifically calling out the Mediterranean diet as a diet that provides benefits for both the disease of Alzheimer’s disease and gastrointestinal disorders, possibly including preventing both from occurring. .
The Mediterranean diet consists of foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, olive oil, and nuts, and with smaller amounts of foods like lean meats, dairy products and eggs. This diet is rich in antioxidants and prebiotic fiber.
What this means for you
Finding ways to support your gut health can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.