Can Probiotics Improve and Prevent Cognitive Impairment?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease and despite the existence of treatments that can alleviate these symptoms, no treatment has been proven to completely halt AD progression. 

In the past decade, an increasing number of randomized control trials (RCTs) have demonstrated promising findings regarding dietary interventions for AD, especially probiotic and prebiotic supplementation, which has been shown to delay AD progression.

New Study Findings 

A new study from scientists at the Jiangnan University in China, published in the journal Foods did a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the use of probiotic supplementation and the effect on cognitive function.

The authors reported that their findings suggest that probiotic intervention at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, could improve cognitive function and delay disease progression. 

They found that compared with placebo or control interventions, probiotic supplementation considerably improved cognitive function in the participants with mild cognitive impairment, but it only caused a modest cognitive improvement in those with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Probiotic supplementation also altered the structure and composition of fecal microbiota in people with Alzheimer’s.

In an interview with Medical News Today, Dr. Merrill explained:

“This meta-analysis — a study of studies — provides an important update about recent evidence showing that gut health may help brain function in older adults, especially those with mild cognitive impairment […] This is an important update on a topic which shows that our gut health impacts not only our systemic health but our emotional and cognitive well-being, as well.”


Zhu G, et al. Probiotics for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Foods. 2021.  10(7):1672. 

Jeanna D. Smiley (2021, Dec 24). Dementia: Can probiotics improve cognitive function? Medical News Today. Retrieved from:

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Credit: Antoine Doré