We love our steak, but it’s not a good idea to gorge ourselves on the red meat either. According to Medical News Today, this may raise iron levels in the brain, which may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Alzheimer's disease and aging have long been connected to two proteins: tau and beta-amyloid. However, a recent study by researchers from Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA has shown that these may not be the only culprits of age-related dementia.

Using MRI technology, team leader Dr. George Bartzokis and his colleagues worked with 31 AD patients and 68 healthy individuals. They analyzed the brain's hippocampus, which is one of the first regions affected by Alzheimer's, and the thalamus, which is only affected in the disease's final stages.

Based on the results, it appears that iron levels in the hippocampus are associated with brain tissue damage. When iron builds up in this region of the brain, the brain cell myelin, which is produced by the oligodendrocytes, self-destructs and encourages plaque formation. The plaques then destroy more myelin and so on and so forth.

To avoid iron buildup, cut back on red meat and perhaps even iron supplements. Experts recommend consulting your doctor about what you can do to help fight AD as well as other diseases that are triggered with advanced age.

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(Photo by Mark, Vicki, Ellaura and Mason via Flickr Creative Commons)

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