The objective of this review was to elucidate the relationship between VaD and various nutritional factors based on epidemiological studies.
Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common type of dementia. The prevalence of VaD continues to increase as the US population continues to grow and age. Currently, control of potential risk factors is believed to be the most effective means of preventing VaD. Thus, identification of modifiable risk factors for VaD is crucial for development of effective treatment modalities. Nutrition is one of the main modifiable variables that may influence the development of VaD.
A systematic review of literature was conducted using the PubMed, Web of Science, and CLNAHL Plus databases with search parameters inclusive of vascular dementia, nutrition, and vascular cognitive impairment (VCI).
Fourteen articles were found that proposed a potential role of specific nutritional components in VaD. These components included antioxidants, lipids, homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12, and fish consumption. Antioxidants, specifically Vitamin E and C, and fatty fish intake were found to be protective against VaD risk. Fried fish, elevated homocysteine, and lower levels of folate and vitamin B12 were associated willi increased VaD. Evidence for dietary lipids was inconsistent, although elevated midlife serum cholesterol may increase risk, while late-life elevated serum cholesterol may be associated with decreased risk of VaD.
Currently, the most convincing evidence as to the relationship between VaD and nutrition exists for micronutrients, particularly Vitamin E and C. Exploration of nutrition at the macronutrient level and additional long term prospective cohort studies are warranted to belter understand the role of nutrition in VaD disease development and progression. At present, challenges in this research include limitations in sample size, which was commonly cited. Also, a variety of diagnostic criteria for VaD were employed in the studies reviewed, indicating the need for constructing a correct nosological definition of VaD for consistency and conformity in future studies and accurate clinical diagnosis of VaD.
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Perez, L., Helm, L., Sherzai, A.D. et al. Nutrition and vascular dementia. J Nutr Health Aging 16, 319–324 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-012-0042-z
- Vascular dementia