Gut health linked to Alzheimer’s progression, study suggests diet as potential therapy

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In a recent study published in the journal Dr nutrients, a team of researchers from Australia conducted a review to understand the species-level diversity of the gut microbiome and its role in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. They also investigated how established ingredients such as prebiotics, probiotics and diet affect the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Study: Role of diet and gut microbiota in Alzheimer's disease.  Image credit: design_cell / shutterstockStudy: Role of diet and gut microbiota in Alzheimer’s disease. Image credit: design_cell / shutterstock


Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive cognitive impairment that affects daily life and functioning. These cognitive impairments affect abilities such as decision making, memory, problem solving, thinking, and mobility, often accompanied by severe personality changes. Cognitive decline is attributed to amyloid-beta plaque formation and hyperphosphorylation of tau neurofibrillary tangles, which also result in inflammation.

Recent studies have also shown that the gut microbiome-brain axis plays an important role in influencing the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases, including mental health disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. People with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease have been found to have lower diversity indices for the gut microbiota than healthy controls.

Various factors such as age, genetics, diet, and antibiotic use affect the gut microbiome, and understanding the interactions between these factors, the gut microbiome, and its potential links to Alzheimer’s disease may help early identification of at-risk individuals. Disease development.

Alzheimer’s disease and the gut microbiota

In the current review, researchers discuss Alzheimer’s disease prevalence rates worldwide and in Australia. They also shed light on the incidence rates of dementia and young-onset dementia and the risk of dementia-related mortality. Studies in the United States (US) have shown that the annual health costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia exceed US$ 600 billion, and this is expected to increase significantly by 2030.

The review also includes what is known about the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, including a detailed discussion of the formation of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, beginning in the orbitofrontal, temporal, and basal neocortex regions and eventually spreading to the amygdala, basal ganglia, and hippocampus. and the diencephalon.

Numerous hypotheses have been presented to explain the mechanisms by which amyloid-beta peptides and tau neurofibrillary tangles contribute to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, such as hyperphosphorylation of tau neurofibrillary tangles and the amyloid cascade. The review expands on these hypotheses as well as other potential mechanisms such as mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation.

Studies investigating the link between gut microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease have reported an association between specific gut microbes and different levels of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid. Other studies have found a link between the composition of the gut microbiome and levels of amyloid peptides in the brain. The researchers present an in-depth discussion of existing research on the association between specific gut microbes and various pathological aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Diet, gut microbiome and Alzheimer’s disease

It is a well-supported finding that diet plays an important role in influencing gut microbiome composition and diversity. The composition of the gut microbiome can also be altered by specific dietary patterns and the intake of various supplements, which may influence the gut-brain axis and affect the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.

The review extensively discusses the role of different dietary components such as protein, fiber, fat and polyphenols and the role of different dietary patterns in influencing the gut microbiome environment and composition. It was also reported in studies that showed significant improvements in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease patients after specific dietary patterns such as the ketogenic diet, the Mediterranean diet, and diets targeting hypertension and neurodegeneration.

The researchers also found that although the body of research on the use of pre- and probiotic supplements as a therapeutic option for Alzheimer’s disease is still limited, several studies have reported that the use of pre- and probiotics, and the combination of the two, can alter the progression and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Associated neuropathology.


In summary, the review comprehensively examines existing research on the interplay between diet, gut microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease pathology. The results suggest that gut dysbiosis is strongly associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease pathology and represents a potential avenue for non-invasive therapies and risk modification.

Journal Reference:

  • Dissanayaka, D.M. Sithara, Jayasena, V., Rainey-Smith, S.R., Martins, R.N., and Fernando, W.M.D.B. (2024). Role of diet and gut microbiota in Alzheimer’s disease. nutrients, 16(3). DOI 10.3390/nu16030412,

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