Polyphenols in dementia: From molecular basis to clinical trials

Life Sci. 2016 Sep 15;161:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2016.07.021. Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Dementia is common in the elderly, but there are currently no effective therapies available to prevent or treat this syndrome. In the last decade, polyphenols (particularly curcumin, resveratrol and tea catechins) have been under very close scrutiny as potential therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and aging. Data were collected from Web of Science (ISI Web of Knowledge), Pubmed and Medline (from 2000 to 2015), by searching for the keywords "dementia" AND "curcumin", "resveratrol", "EGCG", "tea catechins". The same keywords were used to investigate the current state of clinical trials recorded in the NIH clinicaltrials.gov registry. Starting from the intrinsic properties of the compounds, we explain their specific action in patients with AD and the most common types of dementia. The pharmacological actions of curcumin, resveratrol and tea catechins have mainly been attributed to their antioxidant activity, interaction with cell signaling pathways, anti-inflammatory effect, chelation of metal ions, and neuroprotection. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies on polyphenols have demonstrated that they may play an integral role in preventing and treating diseases associated with neurodegeneration. Furthermore, we critically analyze the clinical trials that we found, which investigate the real pharmacological actions and the possible side effects of these compounds. This review highlights the potential role of polyphenols in the prevention/treatment of dementia and describes the current limitations of research in this field.

Keywords: Cis-Resveratrol (PubChem CID: 1548910); Curcumin; Curcumin (PubChem CID: 969516); Dementia; Epicatechin (Pubchem CID: 72276); Epicatechin-3-gallate (Pubchem CID: 107905); Epigallo-catechin-3-gallate; Epigallocatechin (Pubchem CID: 72277); Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (Pubchem CID: 65064); Green tea catechins; Polyphenols; Resveratrol; Trans-Resveratrol (PubChem CID: 445154).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Polyphenols / pharmacokinetics
  • Polyphenols / therapeutic use*


  • Polyphenols