Dairy constituents and neurocognitive health in ageing

David A. Camfield, Lauren Owen, Andrew B. Scholey, Andrew Pipingas, Con Stough

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-174
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Bioactive peptides
  • Cognitive decline
  • Dairy products
  • Dementia
  • Metabolic syndrome

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