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Dietary Nitrate and Brain Health. Too much ado about nothing or a solution for dementia prevention?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mario Siervo, Dr Abrar Babateen, Professor Bloss Stephan, Dr Oliver Shannon



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Dementia is a significant public health priority with ~55 million cases worldwide, and this number is predicted to quadruple by 2050. Adherence to a healthy diet and achieving optimal nutritional status are vital strategies to improve brain health. The importance of this area of research has been consolidated into the new term “nutritional psychiatry”. Dietary nitrate, closely associated with the intake of fruits and vegetables, is a compound that is increased in dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean and MIND diets, and has protective effects on cognition and brain health. Nitrate is characterised by a complex metabolism, and is the precursor of the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway contributing to systemic NO generation. A higher intake of dietary nitrate has been linked to protective effects on vascular outcomes including blood pressure and endothelial function. However, the current evidence supporting the protective effects of dietary nitrate on brain health is less convincing. This paper aims to provide a critical appraisal of the current evidence for dietary nitrate supplementation for improving brain health, and provide suggestions for future research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Siervo M, Babateen A, Alharbi M, Stephan B, Shannon O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2022

Volume: 128

Issue: 6

Pages: 1130-1136

Print publication date: 28/09/2022

Online publication date: 16/08/2022

Acceptance date: 04/07/2022

Date deposited: 22/07/2022

ISSN (print): 0007-1145

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2662

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0007114522002434

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/c0tg-rn10


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Funder referenceFunder name
MR/T001852/1Medical Research Council (MRC)
UK Nutrition Research Partnership (UK NRP)