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Front. Pharmacol., 23 June 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2014.00147

Nutraceuticals in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease

P. Mecocci1*, C. Tinarelli1, R. J. Schulz2 and M. C. Polidori2
  • 1Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
  • 2Geriatrics Department, Medical Faculty, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Several chemical substances belonging to classes of natural dietary origin display protective properties against some age-related diseases including neurodegenerative ones, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These compounds, known as nutraceuticals, differ structurally, act therefore at different biochemical and metabolic levels and have shown different types of neuroprotective properties. The aim of this review is to summarize data from observational studies, clinical trials, and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in humans on the effects of selected nutraceuticals against age-related cognitive impairment and dementia. We report results from studies on flavonoids, some vitamins and other natural substances that have been studied in AD and that might be beneficial for the maintenance of a good cognitive performance. Due to the substantial lack of high-level evidence studies there is no possibility for recommendation of nutraceuticals in dementia-related therapeutic guidelines. Nevertheless, the strong potential for their neuroprotective action warrants further studies in the field.

Keywords: cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, dietary natural substances, neurodegeneration, nutraceuticals, neuroprotection

Citation: Mecocci P, Tinarelli C, Schulz RJ and Polidori MC (2014) Nutraceuticals in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Front. Pharmacol. 5:147. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2014.00147

Received: 18 March 2014; Accepted: 03 June 2014;
Published online: 23 June 2014.

Edited by:

Cesare Mancuso, Catholic University School of Medicine, Italy

Reviewed by:

Nicolas Blondeau, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
George Anthony Oyler, Synaptic Research, USA

Copyright © 2014 Mecocci, Tinarelli, Schulz and Polidori. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: P. Mecocci, Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital, Block C Floor 4, S. Andrea delle Fratte, 06156 Perugia, Italy e-mail: patrizia.mecocci@unipg.it