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Examining the relationship between nutrition and cerebral structural integrity in older adults without dementia

  • J. M. Reddan (a1), H. Macpherson (a2), D. J. White (a1), A. Scholey (a1) and A. Pipingas (a1)...


The proportion of adults aged 60 years and over is expected to increase over the coming decades. This ageing of the population represents an important health issue, given that marked reductions to cerebral macro- and microstructural integrity are apparent with increasing age. Reduced cerebral structural integrity in older adults appears to predict poorer cognitive performance, even in the absence of clinical disorders such as dementia. As such, it is becoming increasingly important to identify those factors predicting cerebral structural integrity, especially factors that are modifiable. One such factor is nutritional intake. While the literature is limited, data from available cross-sectional studies indicate that increased intake of nutrients such as B vitamins (for example, B6, B12 and folate), choline, n-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, or increased adherence to prudent whole diets (for example, the Mediterranean diet) predicts greater cerebral structural integrity in older adults. There is even greater scarcity of randomised clinical trials investigating the effects of nutritional supplementation on cerebral structure, though it appears that supplementation with B vitamins (B6, B12 and folic acid) or n-3 fatty acids (DHA or EPA) may be beneficial. The current review presents an overview of available research examining the relationship between key nutrients or adherence to select diets and cerebral structural integrity in dementia-free older adults.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Jeffery Michael Reddan, email


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