Alzheimer's Disease

The role of nutrition in the healthy brain

Epidemiological studies have shown that people eating a Mediterranean diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats throughout midlife may have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, indicating a role for nutrients in brain health.1

There are specific nutrients that are important for the maintenance of brain structure and function. 2–5

Like the rest of the body, the brain also depends on the supply of nutritional components to build its cellular structure and functions.2–5 Normal functioning of the brain may be adversely affected when the availability of these nutrients is inadequate.

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Some of these nutrients are incorporated into structural components of the cell; for example, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are incorporated into phospholipids which are the major constituents of the cellular membranes, choline is used in neurotransmission, while amino acids are used to produce a variety of proteins involved in numerous biochemical processes required for a variety of body functions.3,5 Other nutrients serve as cofactors in cellular biochemical processes.

Throughout life, an adequate dietary supply of certain nutrients is required to maintain optimal structural and functional integrity of the brain.

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Bourre JM. J Nutr Health Aging, 2006;10:377–85.
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Gomez-Pinilla F and Tyagi E. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2013;16:726-33. .