An abundance of epidemiologic research has shown an association between diets high in polyphenols (found in certain plant foods such as blueberries and green tea) and better cognitive performance in aging populations.
A group of researchers at the University of South Florida developed a nutritional supplement containing extracts from blueberries, green tea and grapes along with with vitamin D3 and carnosine.
They evaluated the effect on cognitive performance in 105 healthy older adults, ages 65 to 85 over just 2 months. Participants took a battery of memory tests at baseline and again after 2 months.
The subjects who received the supplement demonstrated improvements in cognitive processing speed, while those who received placebo did not. Reduced cognitive processing speed, which can slow thinking and learning, has been associated with advancing age.
Preclinical trials in aging rats had revealed that the supplement promoted the growth of stem cells in the brain, produced an overall rejuvenating effect, benefitted animals with simulated stroke, and led to better cognitive performance.
Further human clinical trials are planned.
Nutraceutical Intervention Improves Older Adults’ Cognitive Functioning
Brent Small, Kerri Rawson, Christina Martin, Sarah Eisel, Cindy D Sanberg, Cathy McEvoy, Paul Sanberg, R. Douglas Shytle, Jun Tan, Paula C Bickford.
Rejuvenation Research, 2013; 131017084344003 DOI: 10.1089/rej.2013.1477
Interventions to improve the cognitive health of older adults are of critical importance. In the current study, we conducted a double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial using a pill-based nutraceutical (NT-020) that contained a proprietary formulation of blueberry, carnosine, green tea, Vitamin D3 and Biovin to evaluate the impact on changes in multiple domains of cognitive functioning. One hundred and five cognitively intact adults aged 65 to 85 years of age (M = 73.6 years) were randomized to receive NT-020 (n = 52) or a placebo (n = 53). Participants were tested with a battery of cognitive performance tests that were classified into six broad domains: episodic memory, processing speed, verbal ability, working memory, executive functioning and complex speed at baseline and two months later. The results indicated that persons taking NT-020 improved significantly on two measures of processing speed across the two month test period in contrast to persons on the placebo whose performance did not change. None of the other cognitive ability measures were related to intervention group. The results also indicated that the NT-020 was well tolerated by older adults and the presence of adverse events or symptoms did not differ between the NT-020 and placebo groups. Overall, the results of the current study were promising and suggest the potential for interventions like these to improve the cognitive health of older adults.