Cognition and nutrition: the role of dietary protein and amino acids in cognitive health

Year Published: 2023


Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care


Nagao, Kenji


This review underscores recent advancements in the role of protein and amino acid nutrition on cognitive health. Given the escalating prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer's disease, it is essential to understand nonpharmaceutical interventions that could potentially counteract their development and progression.

Key Findings

Key Findings: Recent findings Emerging research indicates that moderate protein intake may offer protective benefits against dementia. Studies also emphasize the importance of considering not just the quantity, but also the quality and source of dietary protein. The role of essential amino acids in nutrition is gaining attention in the field of cognitive health. Moreover, plasma-free amino acid concentrations, particularly branched-chain amino acids, are being explored as potential biomarkers for cognitive health and Alzheimer's disease. Mechanistic studies suggest that proteins and amino acids help maintain neuronal integrity, reduce inflammation, and support muscle retention, all essential factors for cognitive health. Summary Recent findings emphasize the complex relationship between protein, amino acids, and cognitive health, highlighting the potential of dietary interventions in warding off neurodegenerative diseases. Given the observational nature of these findings, further interventional and longitudinal studies are needed to ascertain causality and elucidate the mechanisms involved.