Research carried out in Iran has shown that regular consumption of probiotics has a positive effect on the memory of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Researchers discovered that participants who consumed a glass of milk with a dose of probiotics every day over the course of 12 weeks showed significant signs of improvement. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and there are currently 5 million Americans living with the disease.
Led by Prof. Mahmoud Salami, from Kashan University, the team set out to monitor the effects of probiotics on a group of 52 women and men ages 60-95, all diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Participants were divided into two groups: one that drank 200ml of normal milk and one that were given 200ml of milk with four types of probiotic bacteria.
To gauge the effects of the probiotics, all participants had blood drawn and were given a memory test that involved short exercises like naming objects and counting backwards. Following the 12-week period those same tests were retaken.
Scores on those tests increased for participants who consumed the probiotic milk, while those who were given the normal milk did not score higher. While this is an encouraging sign, Salami and his co-authors say this is only the beginning and that all participants remained impaired.
“In a previous study, we showed that probiotic treatment improves the impaired spatial learning and memory in diabetic rats,” notes Prof. Salami, “but this is the first time that probiotic supplementation has been shown to benefit cognition in cognitively impaired humans.”
Results of the subsequent blood samples also showed that those who drank the probiotic-infused milk had lower triglycerides and lipoprotein cholesterol levels and reduced signs of a marker that causes inflammation. This latter part of the study requires further investigation, potentially in a future study, but it’s nevertheless an indicator that the inclusion of probiotic in a diet can benefit many non-GI related aspects of a person’s health.
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