Nutritional Intervention as a Preventive Approach for Cognitive-Related Outcomes in Cognitively Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review

Vincenzo Solfrizzi, Pasquale Agosti, Madia Lozupone, Carlo Custodero, Andrea Schilardi, Vincenzo Valiani, Rodolfo Sardone, Vittorio Dibello, Luca Di Lena, Angela Lamanna, Roberta Stallone, Antonello Bellomo, Antonio Greco, Antonio Daniele, Davide Seripa, Carlo Sabba, Giancarlo Logroscino, Francesco Panza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The link diet-cognitive function/dementia has been largely investigated in observational studies; however, there was a lack of evidence from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on the prevention of late-life cognitive disorders though dietary intervention in cognitively healthy older adults. In the present article, we systematically reviewed RCTs published in the last four years (2014-2017) exploring nutritional intervention efficacy in preventing the onset of late-life cognitive disorders and dementia in cognitively healthy subjects aged 60 years and older using different levels of investigation (i.e., dietary pattern changes/medical food/nutraceutical supplementation/multidomain approach and dietary macro-and micronutrient approaches) as well as possible underlying mechanisms of nutritional prevention. From the 35 included RCTs, there was moderate evidence that intervention through dietary pattern changes, medical food/nutraceutical supplementation, and multidomain approach improved specific cognitive domains or cognitive-related blood biomarkers. There was high evidence that protein supplementation improved specific cognitive domains or functional status in prefrail older adults without effect on cognitive function. For fatty acid supplementation, mainly long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, there was emerging evidence suggesting an impact of this approach in improving specific cognitive domains, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, and/or cognitive-related biomarkers also in selected subgroups of older subjects, although some results were conflicting. There was convincing evidence of an impact of non-flavonoid polyphenol and flavonoid supplementations in improving specific cognitive domains and/or MRI findings. Finally, there was only low evidence suggesting efficacy of intervention with homocysteine-related and antioxidant vitamins in improving cognitive functions, dementia incidence, or cognitive-related biomarkers in cognitively healthy older subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S229-S254
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • dietary pattern
  • healthy diet
  • macronutrients
  • medical food
  • Mediterranean diet
  • micronutrients
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • nutraceuticals
  • prevention


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