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Dietary nitrate, aging and brain health: The latest evidence

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Shannon, Sarah Gregory, Dr Mario Siervo



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


Purpose of review With an increasing population age, cognitive decline and age-associated neurodegenerative diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent and burdensome in society. Dietary supplementation with inorganic nitrate, which serves as a nitric oxide precursor, has been suggested as a potential nutritional strategy to improve brain health in older adults. In this review, we discuss recent findings in this area. Recent findings A number of studies have emerged in the past 12-18 months exploring the effects of dietary nitrate supplementation on cognitive function, with typically (although not exclusively) null findings emerging. This research is characterised by small, acute/short-term studies, although observational studies and longer-duration randomised controlled trials are beginning to emerge. From the limited research reporting benefits of nitrate supplementation on cognitive function, one important discovery has been the identification of a potential pathway through which nitrate could impact cognitive health, involving modulation of the oral microbiome, which warrants further investigation. Summary Despite some promising early findings, there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend increased dietary nitrate intake for the purpose of improving brain health. However, longer-term, larger-scale trials in potentially responsive groups are warranted to provide definitive evidence in this area.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shannon OM, Gregory S, Siervo M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care

Year: 2022

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 393-400

Print publication date: 01/11/2022

Online publication date: 10/08/2022

Acceptance date: 31/07/2022

Date deposited: 10/08/2022

ISSN (print): 1363-1950

ISSN (electronic): 1473-6519

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000866

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/xmpr-ga11


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Funder referenceFunder name
MR/T001852/1Medical Research Council (MRC)