Metabolic syndrome and the role of dietary lifestyles in Alzheimer's disease

J Neurochem. 2008 Aug;106(4):1503-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05454.x. Epub 2008 May 3.


Since Alzheimer's disease (AD) has no cure or preventive treatment, an urgent need exists to find a means of preventing, delaying the onset, or reversing the course of the disease. Clinical and epidemiological evidence suggests that lifestyle factors, especially nutrition, may be crucial in controlling AD. Unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to an increasing incidence of obesity, dyslipidemia and hypertension--components of the metabolic syndrome. These disorders can also be linked to AD. Recent research supports the hypothesis that calorie intake, among other non-genetic factors, can influence the risk of clinical dementia. In animal studies, high calorie intake in the form of saturated fat promoted AD-type amyloidosis, while calorie restriction via reduced carbohydrate intake prevented it. Pending further study, it is prudent to recommend to those at risk for AD--e.g. with a family history or features of metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, insulin insensitivity, etc.--to avoid foods and beverages with added sugars; to eat whole, unrefined foods with natural fats, especially fish, nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil; and to minimize foods that disrupt insulin and blood sugar balance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diet therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy