Dietary Fiber Intake is Associated with Cognitive Function in Older Adults: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Elsevier, American Journal of Medicine, Volume , 2022
Prokopidis K., Giannos P., Ispoglou T., Witard O.C., Isanejad M.

Background: Aging is a global health challenge that is associated with a decline in cognitive function. In the United States, most older adults (≥50 years) do not meet the recommended daily fiber intake, although preliminary evidence suggests that dietary fiber consumption could elicit clinical benefits on cognitive function. We investigated the associations between dietary fiber intake and cognitive function in older adults. Methods: We analyzed data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2011 and 2014, with a study cohort of 1070 older adults (≥60 years). Cognitive function was assessed using the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) Word Learning Test (WLT), Word Recall Test (WRT) and their Intrusion Word Count Tests (WLT-IC and WRT-IC), the Animal Fluency Test (AFT), and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). Multiple linear regression and cubic spline analyses were employed to examine the association between dietary fiber intake and cognitive performance on a test-by-test basis, after covariates adjustment (ie, age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, educational level, medical history, body mass index, alcohol, and energy intake). Results: Participants had a mean age of 69.2 years and were primarily non-Hispanic white of middle-high socioeconomic status with a college degree at minimum. The mean dietary fiber intake was 17.3 g/d. The analysis showed that dietary fiber intake was positively associated with DSST (P = .031). No associations with CERAD WLT (P = .41), WRT (P = .68), WLT-IC (P = .07), and WRT-IC (P = .28), and AFT (P = .40) scores were observed. A plateau in DSST score was revealed at a dietary fiber intake of 34 g/d. Conclusions: Higher dietary fiber intake is associated with improved specific components of cognitive function in older adults aged 60 years and older. Public health interventions that target a recommended dietary fiber intake may provide a promising strategy to combat cognitive decline in high-risk groups of older adults.