. Mediterranean diet and risk for Alzheimer's disease. Ann Neurol. 2006 Jun;59(6):912-21. PubMed.

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  1. An interesting conclusion of the study is that the overall dietary pattern should have a greater effect on health than a single nutrient. The findings would suggest that while difficult to treat, AD may be significantly preventable in the U.S. (1). Colin Meyer's comment that silicic acid, present in fish and the skins of grapes, is a prevention factor is of note. Silicic acid is an aluminum chelator. Reduced aluminum-based food additives in the true Mediterranean diet may represent an additional factor in its effect, since many epidemiology studies find the metal to be a major risk factor (2). Folic acid, vitamin E, melatonin, and polyphenols presented in fresh food are also aluminum chelators (3).

    See also:

    Additional review at www.deptplanetearth.com.

    References:

    . Alzheimer disease is substantially preventable in the United States -- review of risk factors, therapy, and the prospects for an expert software system. Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(5):960-7. PubMed.

    . A preliminary study of dietary aluminium intake and risk of Alzheimer's disease. Age Ageing. 1999 Mar;28(2):205-9. PubMed.

    View all comments by Erik Jansson
  2. To add to the point that Erik Jansson makes—that there is more to the "Mediterranean diet" than just oils and "lots of vegetables"—think about pastis. And this will just be one example among many kinds of food and drink which are different between Europe and the U.S.

    Pastis is the "traditional anise-flavored French liqueur" whose ingredients include "artemisia, black pepper, cardamom, centaury, cinnamon, clove, melequeta pepper, sage, star anise, tonka bean, white pepper."

    People do drink pastis quite frequently. The question may be, how much difference will those herbs and spices make—multiplied by the number of drinks over the space of an adult lifetime? And how much difference do all of the drinks (Fernet Branca, as another example) and all of the organ meats, and all of the cheeses, and all of the shellfish and seafood make?

    There are quite a large number of differences between the diet of an average American today and the diet of someone in Italy or the south of France or Spain. Just attributing the differences to certain oils and a lot of vegetables doesn't begin to examine all of the differences that actually exist.

    View all comments by P.F. Jennings
  3. Fish consumption may be a determinant of the Mediterranean diet's prevention or amelioration of Alzheimer disease.

    The protective fish seem to be cold-water, fatty fish such as trout, salmon, sardines, herring. The protective dose is about two servings of fish per week.

    A study from 2007 also suggested prolongation of life in AD patients by adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

    References:

    . Mediterranean diet and Alzheimer disease mortality. Neurology. 2007 Sep 11;69(11):1084-93. PubMed.

    View all comments by Steve Parker, M.D.