An Overview of Crucial Dietary Substances and Their Modes of Action for Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Cells. 2020 Feb 28;9(3):576. doi: 10.3390/cells9030576.


Neurodegenerative diseases, namely Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, and multiple sclerosis are becoming one of the main health concerns due to the increasing aging of the world's population. These diseases often share the same biological mechanisms, including neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, and/or protein fibrillation. Recently, there have been many studies published pointing out the possibilities to reduce and postpone the clinical manifestation of these deadly diseases through lifelong consumption of some crucial dietary substances, among which phytochemicals (e.g., polyphenols) and endogenous substances (e.g., acetyl-L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, n-3 poysaturated fatty acids) showed the most promising results. Another important issue that has been pointed out recently is the availability of these substances to the central nervous system, where they have to be present in high enough concentrations in order to exhibit their neuroprotective properties. As so, such the aim of this review is to summarize the recent findings regarding neuroprotective substances, their mechanisms of action, as well as to point out therapeutic considerations, including their bioavailability and safety for humans.

Keywords: dietary phytochemicals; endogenous substances; mitochondrial dysfunction; neurodegenerative diseases; neuroinflammation; oxidative stress; protein fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Review