British Journal of Nutrition

Review Article

Dairy constituents and neurocognitive health in ageing

David A. Camfielda1 c1, Lauren Owena1, Andrew B. Scholeya1, Andrew Pipingasa1 and Con Stougha1

a1 National Institute of Complementary Medicine – Collaborative Research Centre in Neurocognition, Brain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia

Abstract

Age-related cognitive decline (ARCD) and dementia are of increasing concern to an ageing population. In recent years, there has been considerable research focused on effective dietary interventions that may prevent or ameliorate ARCD and dementia. While a number of studies have considered the impact that dairy products may have on physiological health, particularly with regard to the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular health, further research is currently needed in order to establish the impact that dairy products have in the promotion of healthy brain function during ageing. The present review considers the available evidence for the positive effects of dairy products on the metabolic syndrome and glucose regulation, with consideration of the implications for neurocognitive health. A literature search of current (September 2010) meta-analyses/reviews and original research regarding dairy products and cognition was conducted through SCOPUS using the following search terms for dairy consituents: dairy, milk, cheese, yoghurt, probiotics, whey protein, alpha lactalbumin, calcium, B-12, bioactive peptides and colostrinin (CLN). These search terms for dairy products were combined with the following search terms related to cognition and health: cognition, cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, insulin resistance and glucose regulation. Concerns regarding SFA and other fatty acids found in dairy products are also reviewed in relation to different forms of dairy products. The review also considers recent evidence for positive neurocognitive effects associated with bioactive peptides, CLN and proline-rich polypeptides, α-lactalbumin, vitamin B12, calcium and probiotics. Future directions for the extraction and purification of beneficial constituents are also discussed. It is concluded that low-fat dairy products, when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet, may have a number of beneficial outcomes for neurocognitive health during ageing.

(Received May 17 2010)

(Revised January 05 2011)

(Accepted January 07 2011)

(Online publication February 22 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Dr D. A. Camfield, fax +61 3 9214 5230; email dcamfield@swin.edu.au; david.camfield@gmail.com

Footnotes

Abbreviations: 5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine; Aβ, β-amyloid; AD, Alzheimer's disease; ARCD, age-related cognitive decline; CLN, colostrinin; CNS, central nervous system; HCy, homocysteine

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