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Components of a Mediterranean diet and their impact on cognitive functions in aging.

Huhn S, Kharabian Masouleh S, Stumvoll M, Villringer A, Witte AV - Front Aging Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: Recent studies also suggest an impact on cognition and brain structure, and increasing effort is made to track effects down to single nutrients.We summarized health benefits associated with the MeDi and evaluated available studies on the effect of (1) fish-consumption and LC-n3-FA supplementation as well as (2) diet-derived or supplementary polyphenols such as RSV, on cognitive performance and brain structure in animal models and human studies.A majority of available studies suggest that consumption of LC-n3-FA with fish or fishoil-supplements exerts positive effects on brain health and cognition in older humans.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany.

ABSTRACT

Background: Adhering to the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) is known to be beneficial with regard to many age-associated diseases including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies also suggest an impact on cognition and brain structure, and increasing effort is made to track effects down to single nutrients.

Aims: We aimed to review whether two MeDi components, i.e., long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (LC-n3-FA) derived from sea-fish, and plant polyphenols including resveratrol (RSV), exert positive effects on brain health in aging.

Content: We summarized health benefits associated with the MeDi and evaluated available studies on the effect of (1) fish-consumption and LC-n3-FA supplementation as well as (2) diet-derived or supplementary polyphenols such as RSV, on cognitive performance and brain structure in animal models and human studies. Also, we discussed possible underlying mechanisms.

Conclusion: A majority of available studies suggest that consumption of LC-n3-FA with fish or fishoil-supplements exerts positive effects on brain health and cognition in older humans. However, more large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to draw definite recommendations. Considering polyphenols and RSV, only few controlled studies are available to date, yet the evidence based on animal research and first interventional human trials is promising and warrants further investigation. In addition, the concept of food synergy within the MeDi encourages future trials that evaluate the impact of comprehensive lifestyle patterns to help maintaining cognitive functions into old age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Postulated effects of long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA and Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA) with regard to brain health and their main dietary sources.
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Figure 1: Postulated effects of long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA and Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA) with regard to brain health and their main dietary sources.

Mentions: One characteristic of the MeDi is a high intake of unsaturated fatty acids, including the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-n3-FA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6, n-3; Figure 1). The main source of DHA and EPA in the human diet is fatty sea fish like mackerels or salmon (Max Rubner-Institut, 2011). DHA and EPA cannot be efficiently synthesized by human enzymes and are therefore regarded as semi-essential (Burdge and Calder, 2005; Burdge, 2006; Sala-Vila and Ros, 2011). Astrocytes in the brain are a major site for the processing of LC-n3-FA. They elongate and desaturate precursor fatty acids such as linoleic acid and the vegetable LC-n3-FA alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to form EPA and DHA (Moore et al., 1991). Notably, not only the absolute amount of DHA and EPA might be important, but also the ratio of the precursors, as with different precursor ratios, different conversion rates to DHA and EPA occur (Kaur et al., 2014). In addition, intake of ALA, contained e.g., in nuts, might also directly contribute to the beneficial effects of the MeDi on cognition (Blondeau et al., 2009; Valls-Pedret et al., 2015; for a detailed discussion of possibly distinct effects of ALA, EPA and DHA please see Freemantle et al., 2006).


Components of a Mediterranean diet and their impact on cognitive functions in aging.

Huhn S, Kharabian Masouleh S, Stumvoll M, Villringer A, Witte AV - Front Aging Neurosci (2015)

Postulated effects of long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA and Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA) with regard to brain health and their main dietary sources.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4495334&req=5

Figure 1: Postulated effects of long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA and Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA) with regard to brain health and their main dietary sources.
Mentions: One characteristic of the MeDi is a high intake of unsaturated fatty acids, including the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-n3-FA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6, n-3; Figure 1). The main source of DHA and EPA in the human diet is fatty sea fish like mackerels or salmon (Max Rubner-Institut, 2011). DHA and EPA cannot be efficiently synthesized by human enzymes and are therefore regarded as semi-essential (Burdge and Calder, 2005; Burdge, 2006; Sala-Vila and Ros, 2011). Astrocytes in the brain are a major site for the processing of LC-n3-FA. They elongate and desaturate precursor fatty acids such as linoleic acid and the vegetable LC-n3-FA alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to form EPA and DHA (Moore et al., 1991). Notably, not only the absolute amount of DHA and EPA might be important, but also the ratio of the precursors, as with different precursor ratios, different conversion rates to DHA and EPA occur (Kaur et al., 2014). In addition, intake of ALA, contained e.g., in nuts, might also directly contribute to the beneficial effects of the MeDi on cognition (Blondeau et al., 2009; Valls-Pedret et al., 2015; for a detailed discussion of possibly distinct effects of ALA, EPA and DHA please see Freemantle et al., 2006).

Bottom Line: Recent studies also suggest an impact on cognition and brain structure, and increasing effort is made to track effects down to single nutrients.We summarized health benefits associated with the MeDi and evaluated available studies on the effect of (1) fish-consumption and LC-n3-FA supplementation as well as (2) diet-derived or supplementary polyphenols such as RSV, on cognitive performance and brain structure in animal models and human studies.A majority of available studies suggest that consumption of LC-n3-FA with fish or fishoil-supplements exerts positive effects on brain health and cognition in older humans.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany.

ABSTRACT

Background: Adhering to the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) is known to be beneficial with regard to many age-associated diseases including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies also suggest an impact on cognition and brain structure, and increasing effort is made to track effects down to single nutrients.

Aims: We aimed to review whether two MeDi components, i.e., long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (LC-n3-FA) derived from sea-fish, and plant polyphenols including resveratrol (RSV), exert positive effects on brain health in aging.

Content: We summarized health benefits associated with the MeDi and evaluated available studies on the effect of (1) fish-consumption and LC-n3-FA supplementation as well as (2) diet-derived or supplementary polyphenols such as RSV, on cognitive performance and brain structure in animal models and human studies. Also, we discussed possible underlying mechanisms.

Conclusion: A majority of available studies suggest that consumption of LC-n3-FA with fish or fishoil-supplements exerts positive effects on brain health and cognition in older humans. However, more large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to draw definite recommendations. Considering polyphenols and RSV, only few controlled studies are available to date, yet the evidence based on animal research and first interventional human trials is promising and warrants further investigation. In addition, the concept of food synergy within the MeDi encourages future trials that evaluate the impact of comprehensive lifestyle patterns to help maintaining cognitive functions into old age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus