Our brain and the memories associated to it play a crucial role in the overall development of our neurological health. What we eat and drink can significantly impact our mental health. According to a recent study published in the journal, 'Neurobiology of Aging', high levels of a satiety hormone that reduces appetite could decrease a person's likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease by 65 per cent. The satiety hormone, Cholecystokinin, was observed in 287 people. The researchers analysed the data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). CCK is found in both the small intestines and the brain. In the small intestines, CCK allows for the absorption of fats and proteins. In the brain, CCK is located in the hippocampus, which is the memory-forming region of the brain, Willette said.
As per the findings of the study, individuals who have higher CCK levels, their chance of having a mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease decreased by 65 per cent.
"It will hopefully help to shed further light on how satiety hormones in the blood and brain affect brain function," said Auriel Willette, assistant professor, and his team of researchers in Iowa State University's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Alexandra Plagman, lead author and graduate student in nutritional science, said they chose to focus on CCK because it is highly expressed in memory formation. The researchers wanted to see if there was any association between levels of CCK and levels of memory and gray matter in the hippocampus and other important areas. The p-tau and tau proteins were also looked into, which are thought to be toxic to the brain. The researchers of the study found that as tau levels increased, higher CCK was no longer related to less memory decline.
"By looking at the nutritional aspect, we can tell if a certain diet could prevent Alzheimer's disease or prevent progression of the disease," Plagman said.
"The regulation of when and how much we eat can have some association with how good our memory is. Bottom line: what we eat and what our body does with it affects our brain," Willette added.