by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
Because of its lower cost, canola oil is ubiquitous in processed foods intended for the growing “health conscious” market. Now a recently published study is confirming the suspicions of those of us who refuse to use canola oil.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania’s Temple University conducted an animal study to determine the validity of canola oil’s health claims. Their results were published this month, December, 2017, in the journal Scientific Reports.
The study was titled “Effect of canola oil consumption on memory, synapse and neuropathology in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Summary of the Study’s Main Points and Conclusions
The research team noted that there “is no data available on the effect of canola oil intake on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis.”
In other words, could canola oil contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s?
The study introduction acknowledged earlier olive oil studies, including their own earlier olive oil study, which all unequivocally prove olive oil’s health benefits and protective qualities against neurological disease.
Transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease have been genetically modified, enabling them to develop plaques and tangles like humans do, which are often a part of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These mice are genetically designed and bred to show a progression of Alzheimer’s from even before it is symptomatic and throughout all its stages.
The six month old mice were divided into two groups. The researchers fed the control group only standard mouse chow while the test group was fed chow with canola oil in amounts that would be equivalent for two tablespoons daily with humans. The first thing observed after six months of feeding was that the canola oil fed mice had incurred significant weight gain.
However, this weight gain did not adversely affect the mice’s motor skills during behavioral testing, conducted after six months of feeding, when the mice were 12 months old. Those conducting the behavioral tests were not informed of whether they were testing non canola fed or canola fed mice to exclude the possibility of bias.
What was observed through behavioral testing, water maze, Y-maze, and fear conditioning, was the canola fed mice had reduced working memory and less learning ability. After the behavioral tests the mice were euthanized and their brains biochemically analyzed.
The researchers observed that among the canola fed mice, all of which demonstrated diminished learning ability and working memory, there was biochemical evidence for reduced synaptic integrity due to significantly lowered levels of a protein that is vital to nerve synapse connections. Synapses are the connecting points of electrical impulse signals in the brain and nervous system.
Also, the brains of the mice receiving canola oil had a statistically significant increase in the ratios of certain specific peptides (bonded amino acids), suggesting a shift towards the more prone to fibril formation and insoluble form of these peptides, leading to progressive precipitation and intracellular accumulation. In other words, the potential for brain tangles and plaque was now higher. (Full study text)
The Temple group’s lead researcher with the canola oil animal study, Professor Domenico Pratico, M.D., commented to media queries:
“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy. Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.” (Source)
Temple University’s Earlier Olive Oil Animal Testing Results
The same outside funding source for the canola oil study, the Wanda Simone Endowment for Neuroscience, also funded Temple to study the neurological effects from olive oil. That study was published only a few months prior to the canola oil study in a different journal, the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.
The olive oil study also focused mainly on the neurological aspects of the disease, as implied by the name of its major funding source, the Wanda Simone Endowment for Neuroscience. That study came up with some surprising evidence of how olive oil protects the brain from neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
Using virgin olive oil, the same types of mice used for canola oil testing performed better in behavioral testing than control mice. Both working and spatial memory were improved. Biochemical analysis showed a reduction of markers that promote deposits in the brain while other markers confirmed improved brain synapse connections. (Full study text)
Regarding their olive oil study, Temple’s lead researcher Dr. Pratico stated,
“One thing that stood out immediately was synaptic integrity. The integrity of the connections between neurons, known as synapses, were preserved in animals on the extra-virgin olive oil diet.”
In addition, compared to mice on a regular diet, brain cells from animals in the olive oil group showed a dramatic increase in nerve cell autophagy activation, which was ultimately responsible for the reduction in levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau.
“This is an exciting finding for us,” added Dr. Pratico. “Thanks to the autophagy activation, memory and synaptic integrity were preserved, and the pathological effects in animals otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease were significantly reduced. This is a very important discovery, since we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease.” (Source)
Canola Oil is NOT a Natural Oil that has Been in the Food Chain Long
What is lacking from the canola oil study is any mention of genetic modification regarding canola, which is essentially the rapeseed plant hybrid to eliminate rapeseed’s toxins and odors that were appropriate for industrial use. Canada changed the name from rapeseed plants to canola, which stands for Canadian oil instead of rapeseed oil, solely for marketing purposes.
The Temple researchers used Mazola canola oil, which is from GMO canola and is extracted with hexane, a toxic chemical with the potential of leaving trace amounts in the final oil solution. GMO canola plants are sprayed with Roundup, a “probable” carcinogenic glyphosate herbicide. Around 90 percent of canola plants are genetically modified to withstand Roundup.
While there are a few more expensive organic expeller-pressed canola oils available, Canadian organic canola farmers have complained of GMO plant-drift and other contamination during seed storage. Unfortunately they are outnumbered and surrounded by GMO farms.
It doesn’t take extensive testing to decide between quality cold pressed virgin olive oil and any kind of canola oil – it’s worthwhile to make the healthier choice.
Unfortunately, most olive oils on the market are adulterated with cheaper oils.
See our previous articles on olive oil: