Red Meat Can Help In The Fight Against Alzheimer’s

You’ll very rarely hear a doctor or nutritionist tell you that you need to eat more meat. For far too long the mainstream has been bombarding us with the message that the animal fat found in red meat is bad for us and that it contributes to chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity and diabetes… yes, that maybe the case when it comes to processed meats but when it comes to good quality red meat, like grass-fed beef, quite the contrary is true.

Most health trends still focus on plant-based and raw food diets. These extreme diets exclude entire food groups, meaning that when you follow these diets, you don’t get many of the essential nutrients which are found in red meat, like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), iron, stearic acid, protein, zinc, vitamins B & A, and EPA omega-3 fatty acids.

Research has shown that those suffering from hypo-glycaemia, anaemia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and skin conditions are often deficient in many of these essential nutrients and could benefit from a balanced whole foods diet that includes meat.

Better still, a recent study indicates that red meat may be able to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Protecting the brain from decline

Whilst the medical mainstream is still struggling to find the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, we already know that the build-up of amyloid beta protein, tangled fibres, and the failure of mitochondria in the brain play a big role in the onset of this distressing disease.

The latest research by the world-renowned neurologist, Dr. Stefano Sensin, from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), in the US, points to a natural di-peptide called carnosine, which is found in human brain tissue and in meat, as a possible part-solution to the problem.

Dr. Sensin and his team examined mice that are known to show signs of spatial memory decline as they age. One group of mice was treated with carnosine whilst another group of mice was used as a control. The mice were trained for three days, after which they were given a maze test. During training, all of the mice learned at the same pace. But when the researchers tested their spatial memory skills in the maze, the untreated mice showed short-term memory loss, whilst those receiving carnosine did not.

Closer inspection showed a significant decrease in the amyloid beta protein, as well as an improvement in mitochondrial function in the carnosine group. Additionally, the researchers noted that there was no decrease in the tau protein – the protein that leads to twisted masses of fibre in the brain.

They concluded that carnosine did not completely reverse cognitive decline, but it certainly helped with better brain function.

Essential brain food

The brain naturally has high levels of carnosine, but previous studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have very low levels of this important di-peptide. Carnosine has powerful antioxidant properties, which help protect against free radical damage and glycaemic stress that can lead to inflammation and cell damage. Its anti-ageing properties extend far beyond the brain and it has been used to reduce wrinkles and make skin smoother.

So, if you’re a meat-eater, your brain may be benefiting from your diet. And if you’re a vegetarian, you could be at risk for cognitive decline because you’re not getting any carnosine in your diet.

Whether you are a meat-eater or not, supplementing with carnosine seems to be essential if you want to protect your brain against cognitive decline. Dr. Marios Kyriazis, a top expert on longevity and the science of ageing, recommends taking a daily supplement of carnosine between 50-200 mg. Sticking to a lower dose is recommended since higher dosages can cause headaches.

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