Saturated and trans fats and dementia: a systematic review

Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Sep:35 Suppl 2:S65-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.02.030. Epub 2014 May 15.


Cognitive disorders of later life are potentially devastating. To estimate the relationship between saturated and trans fat intake and risk of cognitive disorders. PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for studies reporting saturated or trans fat intake and incident dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD), or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or cognitive decline. Only observational studies met the inclusion criteria: 4 for AD or other dementias, 4 for MCI, and 4 for cognitive decline. Saturated fat intake was positively associated with AD risk in 3 of 4 studies, whereas the fourth suggested an inverse relationship. Saturated fat intake was also positively associated with total dementia in 1 of 2 studies, with MCI in 1 of 4 studies, and with cognitive decline in 2 of 4 studies. Relationships between trans fat intake and dementia were examined in 3 reports with mixed results. Several, although not all, prospective studies indicate relationships between saturated and trans fat intake and risk of cognitive disorders.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Fatty acids; Nutrition; Saturated fat; Trans fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / etiology*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Risk
  • Trans Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Trans Fatty Acids