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Mediterranean diet boosts cognitive performance in T2D patients

22 May 2020

Following a Mediterranean diet (MedD) appears to have a favourable effect on verbal memory in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) of at least 5 years’ duration but not in those with type 1 diabetes (T1D), as shown in a study.

Researchers performed a cross-sectional analysis involving patients with recently diagnosed T1D (n=75) or T2D (n=118), metabolically healthy individuals (n=41), and patients who had T1D (n=44) or T2D (n=62) for ≥5 years.

Metabolically healthy individuals and T2D patients were slightly older and more likely to be overweight/obese than those with T1Ds. Metabolic control according to HbA1c in all patients with diabetes was within the range recommended by current guidelines.

At the time of diagnosis and about 5 years after diagnosis, T1D patients and healthy individuals had an estimated total energy intake of 10 MJ/d, whereas T2D patients had about 8.6 MJ/d. Overall, adherence to MedD (measured using the Modified Mediterranean diet scale [MMDS]; range, 0 [minimal adherence] to 9 [maximal adherence]) reached a mean MMDS of 4.5.

Multiple linear regression models showed that close adherence to MedD was associated with higher score in verbal memory (p=0.043) among patients with T2D for ≥5 years but not among those with recently diagnosed T2D (p=0.275), recently diagnosed or longer-standing T1D (p=0.215 and p=0.626, respectively) and metabolically healthy individuals (p=0.666).

Although largely unknown, the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effect of MedD on verbal memory might involve the high antioxidant content in the diet, which helps reduce the production of reactive oxygen species and attenuate inflammatory processes, both of which have been linked to cognitive decline, according to the researchers. The positive effects might also be mediated by n-3 fatty acids. [Nutrients 2017;9:674]

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