The oil you drizzle on your salad or use to cook foods can have a profound effect on inflammation and in some cases specifically on brain inflammation.


Trans fats:  Also called trans fatty-acids.  Strongly correlated with systemic inflammation.  Years of research has led to policy changes that have banned and/or phased out trans fats in an increasing number of markets.


Olive Oil:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).  Use this at every opportunity.  This is probably a large reason the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s.

Temple University in the U.S. found the following about EVOO:

  • EVOO reduced inflammation in the brain
  • EVOO improved Alzheimer’s related behavioral deficits
  • EVOO increased levels of synaptophysin, a protein found in healthy synpases
  • EVOO reduced the levels and deposition of insoluble Aβ peptide
  • EVOO lowered the amounts of phosphorylated tau protein
  • EVOO activated cell autophagy

EVOO also contains omega-3 fatty acids shown to be neuroprotective:


Canola Oil:  May contribute to Alzheimer’s.

  • The mouseheimer’s study comparing memory function and biochemical markers between a group eating mouse chow with canola oil and a control group eating just mouse chow produced results showing the canola mice performed slightly worse on one of three tests of memory, and had amyloid 42/40 ratios that were slightly worse (this indicates that the cleavage of amyloid precursor protein has tilted from good to bad).
  • The other big find, to my mind, was that the canola mice displayed a statistically significant reduction in a key neuron protein.  PSD-95 is a major scaffolding protein and a potent regulator of synaptic strength.  This decease indicates that the canola mice have weakened neurons.
  • I think it is also important to note that the six-month study stopped when the mice were 12-months old, which means they were not yet middle aged.  It requires further studies to see if the mild negative effects of canola oil accelerate when combined with the factors of aging and the accumulating effects of a tilted amyloid 42/40 ratio.
  • Often billed as a healthy alternative to other oils, canola oil is lower in saturated fats and contains omega-3 fatty acids.  This makes groups such as the American Heart Association enthusiastic supporters, but their focus is heart health and not brain health (there is also strong evidence that saturated fats and a high fat diet are not/not harmful even to the heart).


Coconut Oil:  Anti-inflammatory.  For those concerned about saturated fats see the discussion above under Canola oil.

  • activated cell autophagy
  • shortcut to ketosis – coconut oil is a medium-chain-triglyceride and is converted by the liver into ketone bodies regardless of glucose levels

See also: