Influence of the Mediterranean and Ketogenic Diets on Cognitive Status and Decline: A Narrative Review

Nutrients. 2020 Apr 8;12(4):1019. doi: 10.3390/nu12041019.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of senile dementia, accounting for up to 70% of dementia cases. AD is a slowly progressive disease, which causes global mental deterioration by affecting various cognitive areas. A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that lifestyle habits and nutritional patterns could delay the natural course of the neurodegeneration process. There is no single dietary pattern unequivocally proven to prevent AD. Nevertheless, epidemiological data suggest that by adopting several dietary habits, especially if accompanied with a healthy lifestyle, the negative consequences of AD could potentially be delayed. Alongside with others, two specific eating patterns have been well investigated concerning their potential beneficial effect on cognitive status: the Mediterranean diet (MedDi) and the Ketogenic Diet (KD). Despite the different underlying mechanisms, both of them have demonstrated a fairly profitable role in reducing or delaying cognitive impairment. The aim of the present narrative review is to overview the existing research on the efficacy of MedDi and KD against AD-related cognitive decline, focusing on the proposed protective mechanisms of action. Although the current knowledge on this complex topic does not allow us, at this point, to make exhaustive conclusions, this information could be of help in order to better characterize the possible role of MedDi and KD as nonpharmacological therapies in the treatment of AD and, more generically, of neurodegenerative disorders.

Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Mediterranean; cognition disorders; diet; ketogenic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Ketogenic / methods*
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged