Purpose of review
This study will review the biologic roles of thiamine, niacin, folic acid, cobalamin, antioxidants, lipids, glucose, and water and their implications as contributors or causal agents in the development of delirium, particularly if deficiencies or excesses exist.
Knowledge on how overall nutritional status and individual nutrients predispose or directly lead to the development of delirium is currently very limited. Most studies in the area of nutrition and cognition
still describe mental status changes using the term dementia and do not specifically address nutrition and delirium
. However, as the brain pathophysiology that accompanies delirium has been furthered elucidated, it has become clear that nutritional imbalances can lead to these same physiologic changes in neuronal tissue.
Delirium, characterized by an acute change in mental status along with diminished awareness and attention and disturbances in memory, language, or perception, confers high rates of morbidity and mortality and can be difficult to both diagnose and treat. Although the cause of delirium is often multifactorial, nutritional status and nutrients may play a role in predisposing or directly causing this acute cognitive dysfunction. Many nutritional deficiencies or excesses (i.e., B vitamins, antioxidants, glucose, water, lipids) have been shown to alter the way one thinks and restoring the balance in many of these nutrients can lead to resolution of delirium.