Impact of Flavonoids on Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Age-Related Cognitive Decline and Neurodegeneration

Curr Nutr Rep. 2018 Jun;7(2):49-57. doi: 10.1007/s13668-018-0226-1.


Purpose of review: This review summarises the most recent evidence regarding the effects of dietary flavonoids on age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.

Recent findings: Recent evidence indicates that plant-derived flavonoids may exert powerful actions on mammalian cognition and protect against the development of age-related cognitive decline and pathological neurodegeneration. The neuroprotective effects of flavonoids have been suggested to be due to interactions with the cellular and molecular architecture of brain regions responsible for memory. Mechanisms for the beneficial effects of flavonoids on age-related cognitive decline and dementia are discussed, including modulating signalling pathways critical in controlling synaptic plasticity, reducing neuroinflammation, promoting vascular effects capable of stimulating new nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, bidirectional interactions with gut microbiota and attenuating the extracellular accumulation of pathological proteins. These processes are known to be important in maintaining optimal neuronal function and preventing age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Memory; Microbiome; Polyphenols; Signalling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Dementia / drug therapy
  • Diet*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts