Oxidative stress caused by a build-up of free radicals has been identified as one of the major contributors to the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Free radicals can occur due to exposure to pesticides and other environmental toxins. Degenerative diseases of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, can occur when the body does not have sufficient amounts of antioxidants to counteract the build-up of these toxins.
A recent study on rats, published in Journal of Food Science and Technology, (Jan. 5, 2016), showed that antioxidant compounds found in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can combat the damage caused by free radicals and produces an anti-inflammatory response in the brain. These compounds have been shown in various studies to have neuroprotective effects against, not only Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, but spinal cord injury, Huntington’s disease, brain ischemia, and peripheral neuropathy.
This study focused on the effect EVOO has on a particular pesticide known as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). This herbicide is widely used in the agricultural and forestry industries and has a toxic affect on the nervous system
The study results showed that damage caused to the brain by exposure to this pesticide was counteracted with the addition of EVOO to the rat’s diet. EVOO significantly increased antioxidant activity while decreasing the amount of free radicals in the brain.
This early research suggests that EVOO could have a natural protective effect against 2,4-D neurotoxicity exposure as well as provide a therapeutic strategy to protect against other types of pesticide exposure that contribute to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.