Dietary saturated fats and apolipoprotein B48 levels are similarly associated with cognitive decline in healthy older aged Australians

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2020;29(3):537-544. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.202009_29(3).0012.


Background and objectives: As the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer's disease increases, so does the body of epidemiological and clinical research that suggests a relationship between dietary fatty acids, in particular saturates, and cognitive decline. In this study, we investigated the association between serum apolipoprotein B48 (apoB48), saturated fatty acid intake and consumption behaviour, and cognitive performance, in healthy, older aged Australians.

Methods and study design: We retrospectively analysed fasted serum apoB48 concentrations, food frequency questionnaire, and cognitive performance data collected from 147 participants (98F|49M) over the age of 50. We used Spearman's correlations and a nested domain model to evaluate the relationship between serum apoB48, dietary behaviour and measures of cognitive performance.

Results: Overall, we found that higher fasted apoB48 concentrations, and/or dietary behaviours which led to increased dietary consumption of diets high in saturated fatty acids, were inversely associated with cognition. Interestingly however, dietary behaviour patterns of saturated fatty acid consumption and serum apoB48 were linked with better secondary memory and perceptual speed, respectively.

Conclusions: This is the first time that fasted apoB48 has been implicated as a biomarker for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease risk.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Apolipoprotein B-48 / blood*
  • Australia
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / blood*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / blood
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Apolipoprotein B-48
  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids