Metabolic Syndrome, Cognitive Impairment and the Role of Diet: A Narrative Review

Nutrients. 2022 Jan 13;14(2):333. doi: 10.3390/nu14020333.


Background: This narrative review presents the association between metabolic syndrome (MetS), along with its components, and cognition-related disorders, as well as the potential reversal role of diet against cognitive impairment by modulating MetS.

Methods: An electronic research in Medline (Pubmed) and Scopus was conducted.

Results: MetS and cognitive decline share common cardiometabolic pathways as MetS components can trigger cognitive impairment. On the other side, the risk factors for both MetS and cognitive impairment can be reduced by optimizing the nutritional intake. Clinical manifestations such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes and increased central body adiposity are nutrition-related risk factors present during the prodromal period before cognitive impairment. The Mediterranean dietary pattern stands among the most discussed predominantly plant-based diets in relation to cardiometabolic disorders that may prevent dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other cognition-related disorders. In addition, accumulating evidence suggests that the consumption of specific dietary food groups as a part of the overall diet can improve cognitive outcomes, maybe due to their involvement in cardiometabolic paths.

Conclusions: Early MetS detection may be helpful to prevent or delay cognitive decline. Moreover, this review highlights the importance of healthy nutritional habits to reverse such conditions and the urgency of early lifestyle interventions.

Keywords: cognition; cognitive impairment; dementia; healthy aging; metabolic syndrome; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diet therapy*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*