Mediterranean diet adherence, gut microbiota, and Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease risk: A systematic review

J Neurol Sci. 2022 Mar 15:434:120166. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2022.120166. Epub 2022 Jan 26.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are the two most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases, both without prevention or cure. The Mediterranean diet (MeDi) may be neuroprotective by modulating gut microbiota. We aimed to assess the effects of adherence to MeDi on the gut microbiota in relation to AD or PD risk. A search from inception to November 2020 was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science, Global Health, Biological Abstracts, and Grey Literature Report databases. Two searches were conducted: 1) (MeDi or Microbiota) and (PD or AD) and 2) MeDi and microbiota. Inclusion criteria for papers were specified prior to review. Of 4672 studies identified, 64 were eligible for inclusion. These studies were divided into five groups: MeDi and AD risk (n = 4), MeDi and PD risk (n = 2), MeDi and microbial composition or metabolomics (n = 21), AD and microbial composition or metabolomics (n = 7), and PD and microbial composition or metabolomics (n = 30). Adherence to the MeDi was associated with a lower risk of AD and PD development. Eight genera and two species of bacteria had an inverse relationship with MeDi and AD, and one family, eight genera and three species of bacteria had an inverse relationship with MeDi and PD. More studies are needed to investigate if MeDi, gut microbiota, and neurodegeneration are causally related.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Mediterranean diet; Microbiota; Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease* / epidemiology
  • Risk