MAR 19, 2024 11:56 AM PDT

Dietary Thiamine and Cognitive Decline

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

Dementia, a leading cause of death and disability globally, is projected to affect millions by 2050, imposing a substantial societal and economic burden. Thiamine, a B vitamin essential for energy metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis, is known to have cognitive benefits in clinical trials but lacked exploration in dietary contexts, until now. A study published in General Psychiatry addresses this gap by investigating the link between dietary thiamine intake and cognitive decline in older Chinese individuals.

The study utilizes data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, an extensive longitudinal study initiated in 1989. Cognitive function assessments were conducted between 1997 and 2006 for participants aged ≥55, forming a prospective cohort. Dietary thiamine intake was measured using 3-day averages, and cumulative averages were calculated to represent long-term nutrient status. Covariates included demographic, lifestyle, and health factors. Cognitive decline was assessed through the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status–modified (TICS-m), evaluating verbal memory, attention, and calculation.

The study reveals a J-shaped association between dietary thiamine intake and cognitive decline, indicating an inflection point at 0.68 mg/day. Before this point, thiamine intake showed no significant association with cognitive decline, suggesting a potential protective effect. However, beyond the inflection point, an increase in thiamine intake was significantly linked to cognitive decline. 

The J-shaped relationship suggests an optimal range of thiamine intake (0.60–1.00 mg/day) for the lowest risk of cognitive decline. Maintaining thiamine intake within this range may be crucial for cognitive function in aging populations. The study also highlights potential adverse effects of excessive thiamine intake, consistent with previous research associating it with new-onset diabetes and hypertension.

The researchers in a quote to Eureka mentioned “if substantiated by further research, our study highlights the importance of maintaining optimal dietary thiamine intake levels in the general older population to prevent cognitive decline.” The findings provide valuable insights for public health recommendations, emphasizing the need for balanced thiamine intake to promote cognitive health in aging populations. As the scientific community delves deeper into the intricacies of nutrient-disease relationships, this research contributes to our evolving understanding of dietary influences on cognitive well-being.


Sources: General PsychiatryEureka

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Greta is currently a writer at Labroots and a 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy student, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Innovation is her passion, especially when it comes to pharma, entrepreneurship, science, and art. She is hoping to pursue a career in pharma while also fostering her creative initiatives.
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