Posted on May 11, 2023, 3 p.m.
Smelling mint may help to briefly prevent cognitive deterioration, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, which found that smelling the aroma modulates the immune system, decreasing levels of interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β) proteins that mediate our inflammatory responses, and when further inhibited with mice models of Alzheimer’s disease experienced improved cognitive abilities.
Our brain relies on a rather fragile balance of complex interactions between neural stem cells, nerve cells, and immune cells in order to maintain proper function. Research suggests that certain odors can play a role in the regulation of healthy interactions, and that loss of smell is often one of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease experienced by patients.
“Surprisingly, we observed that short exposures to this substance for six months prevented cognitive decline in the mice with Alzheimer’s and, what is most interesting, also improved the cognitive ability of healthy young mice,” says Dr. Juan José Lasarte, the director of the Program of Immunology and Immunotherapy at Cima and principal author of the investigation.
Researchers from Cima Universidad de Navarra suggest that blocking the activity of T regulatory immune cells also helped to improve the cognitive performance of mice models with this neurodegenerative disease and that this researcher highlights the potential of odors and immunomodulators as therapeutic agents.
“Both menthol exposure and Treg cell blockade caused a decrease in IL-1β, a protein that could be behind the cognitive decline observed in these models,” notes co-author Dr. Ana García-Osta.
“This study is an important step toward understanding the connection between the immune system, the central nervous system, and smell, as the results suggest that odors and immune modulators may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s,” first author Dr. Noelia Casares concludes.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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