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Longevity Briefs: Can Flavonols Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease?

Posted on 23 October 2020

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Flavonols are dietary compounds found in tea, red wine, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. We know that consuming fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases, but it’s still not entirely clear to what extent flavanols contribute to these effects, or whether they could be consumed separately as supplements to replicate these health benefits.

What did the researchers do: In this study, researchers looked at the self-reported diets of 921 elderly Americans who were followed for 6 years. They used this information to calculate their flavonol intake, and observed the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in relation estimated flavonol consumption.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Almost 24% of participants developed Alzheimer’s disease during the course of the study. Those consuming the highest amount of flavonols was associated with a 40% reduced chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease when compared to those consuming the lowest amount of flavonols.

This does not prove that flavonols specifically reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as it is very hard to control for other beneficial effects of healthy diets, or the fact that those consuming diets rich in flavonols are likely to perform other healthy activities. However it does at least reinforce existing evidence that a healthy diet rich in plant-based foods may reduce risk of dementia.

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