Low-protein diet 'delays Alzheimer's'

Low-protein diet 'delays Alzheimer's'

A low-protein diet may be able to slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease and improve patients' memory, according to a latest study.

Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have produced the results in tests on mice displaying symptoms of a condition equivalent to Alzheimer's in humans.

The mice were placed on diet cycles, whereby they would be given protein-restricted foods every other week. These were supplemented by additional amino acids.

The mammals placed on the diet showed improvements in their cognitive abilities when compared to a control group on a conventional diet.

In addition, Professor Valter Longo - who led the study - found lower levels of the IGF-1 growth hormone in mice on the low-protein diet. This hormone has previously been linked to Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes.

"Although the new study is in mice, it raises the possibility that low protein intake and low IGF-I may also protect from age-dependent neurodegeneration," Prof Longo explained.

He now plans to investigate whether humans respond to the diet in the same way.

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