Study Finds Olive Oil May Reduce Risk of Fatal Dementia

According to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition olive oil may reduce the risk of dying from dementia.

“Our study reinforces dietary guidelines recommending vegetable oils such as olive oil and suggests that these recommendations not only support heart health but potentially brain health, as well”, says Anne-Julie Tessier, RD, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Opting for olive oil, a natural product, instead of fats such as margarine and commercial mayonnaise is a safe choice and may reduce the risk of fatal dementia.”

Tessier presented the findings at NUTRITION 2023, the flagship annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition which is held in Boston Between July 22 and July 25.

For the study researchers analyzed dietary questionnaires and death records if more than 90,000 Americans over the course of three decades. During this time 4,749 of the study’s participants died from dementia.

The study found that those who consume at least half a tablespoon of olive oil per day had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil. Researchers say that replacing just one teaspoon of margarine and mayonnaise with olive oil each day was associated with an 8-14% lower risk of dying from dementia.

“Some antioxidant compounds in olive oil can cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially having a direct effect on the brain,” said Tessier. “It is also possible that olive oil has an indirect effect on brain health by benefiting cardiovascular health.”

Tessier says that additional studies, particularly randomized controlled trials, should be conducted to confirm these results.