Dairy consumption and risk of dementia.


Evidence suggests that dairy consumption is associated with better cognitive health in older adults. However, the results of recent research introduce an exception to this possible link (https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.202101058).

Researchers found that high consumption of whole milk was associated with a higher rate of cognitive decline in older adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

The study was conducted by the Center for On-Line Biomedical Research in Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN) and the Human Nutrition Unit of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili-Institut d'Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. It is part of the PREDIMED-Plus project and is the result of collaboration between scientists from the Centro Asociado en Línea de Investigación Biomédica en Epidemiología y Salud Pública and the Centro Asociado en Línea de Investigación Biomédica en Diabetes y Enfermedades Metabólicas.

The study included 4,668 participants in the PREDIMED-Plus study aged 55 to 75 years. The participants were overweight or obese and had the metabolic syndrome, which was defined as the presence of at least three of the following five criteria: impaired blood glucose, elevated triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Participants completed a validated food frequency questionnaire at baseline and a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests at baseline and at two-year follow-up.

Dr. Naiara Fernandez, a nutrition expert and member of the Steering Group of the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, who was not involved in the research, told that the benefit of dairy intake in Alzheimer's disease had previously been linked to its ability to inhibit inflammatory cytokines, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent beta-amyloid deposition.

Another finding of this research is that the negative cognitive effect of whole milk consumption is more evident in men than in women.