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Consuming deep-fried oils has been linked to oxidative stress and inflammation, which are risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases and other chronic conditions. A new study in rats suggests a potential connection between the long-term consumption of reheated cooking oils and increased neurodegeneration. The gut-brain-liver axis appears crucial in maintaining neurological health, and consuming reheated oils may disrupt this balance. Experts recommend diets rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, cautioning against the frequent consumption of fried foods. Alzheimer’s disease now affects nearly 7 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States.

The recent rat study highlighted a potential link between long-term consumption of reused deep-fried oil and increased neurodegeneration. Rats fed diets with reheated cooking oils exhibited significantly higher levels of neurodegeneration compared to those consuming a standard diet. Reheated oil may disrupt the liver-gut-brain axis, leading to physiological imbalances linked to neurological disorders. Deep-frying is a prevalent cooking method globally but has been associated with cardiometabolic conditions and certain cancers. Few studies have examined the long-term effects of consuming reheated cooking oils on disease development.

The study organized female rats into different groups and fed them various diets containing unheated or reheated oils to mimic the conditions of consuming reused deep frying oil. Rats fed diets with reheated oils showed heightened oxidative stress, inflammation, and colonic damage. In secondary experiments involving neurotoxicity in offspring, those fed diets with reheated oils exhibited greater susceptibility to neuronal damage. Liver lipid metabolism was altered, leading to neurodegeneration in rats consuming reheated oil and their offspring.

Reheated oils led to escalated levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers, as well as considerable damage to liver and colon structures, showing potential cardiometabolic and organ harm. Consuming reheated oils also resulted in specific brain damage, especially in areas crucial for regeneration, highlighting the neurological risks involved. Rats fed unheated oils exhibited better markers for brain health compared to those consuming reheated oils. Heating oils to high temperatures alters their chemical structure, reducing antioxidants and forming harmful compounds, leading to increased levels of toxicity with each use.

Repeated exposure to heat causes oils to break down, changing the fatty acid composition and increasing levels of oxidation products. This imbalance can lead to oxidative stress, potentially damaging neurons and increasing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Reheated frying oils contain oxidized fats and advanced glycation end products linked to chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions. Disruption of the liver-gut-brain axis due to the consumption of reheated oils may lead to neuroinflammatory conditions and neurological disorders.

To mitigate the harmful effects of reheated oil consumption, experts recommend diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and polyphenols. Probiotics from foods like kefir and kimchi can promote gut and liver health, while adopting overall healthy dietary patterns may help prevent neurodegeneration. Avoiding frequent intake of fried foods, choosing oils high in polyunsaturated fats, preventing oils from overheating during cooking, and rotating cooking oils can help reduce the risks associated with reheated oils. Future research should focus on understanding how reheated oils impact liver lipid metabolism, gut health, brain health, and potential therapeutic interventions.

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