This Supplement Enhances Cognition for Better Aging
In 2030, one out of every five adults in the United States will be 65 or older, which may put a big strain on healthcare and caregivers. Many older people face cognitive problems. And most of them can't live on their own.
Researchers are looking for ways to improve cognitive aging. While getting older often means some decline in thinking ability, it doesn't have to be that way. Making certain lifestyle choices can slow down the aging of the brain and the decline in thinking skills.
There's a group of natural compounds called polyphenols found in things like fruits, vegetables, and cocoa. Studies suggest that polyphenols can help older adults think better. Blueberries, in particular, have a lot of polyphenols and seem promising.
In research on animals, blueberries were found to reverse brain aging, improve memory, and help brain cells grow. In people, those who ate a lot of berries over 15 years had their cognitive decline delayed by up to 2.5 years. One study with a small group of older adults found that drinking blueberry juice improved their thinking skills.
But more research is needed. A new study wanted to see if eating wild blueberries for six months could make older people's thinking faster, which is important for other thinking skills.
Researchers conducted the study with 296 adults, aged 65 to 80, in the southeastern United States. They selected 133 of them who met specific criteria, like not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and not having certain health conditions. Most of the participants were Caucasian. And about 44% were male.
The study lasted for six months and was divided into three groups: one group consumed a blueberry powder, another group had a placebo powder, and a reference group didn't get any special powder. They matched people in terms of age and gender within three age groups: 65-69, 70-74, and 75-80. All participants visited the lab nine times for various tests, including cognitive assessments, diet tracking, and health questionnaires.
The blueberry powder was made from real blueberries and freeze-dried, while the placebo powder had no real blueberry content. The participants were given labeled packets with the powder to consume every day. The compliance (how well participants followed the instructions) was good, with most people taking their powders as directed. However, some people in the blueberry group stopped because they couldn't tolerate the powder.
The researchers collected information about the participants' medical history, life stress, and physical activity. They used tests like the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV), and Cambridge Neurological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) to assess cognitive abilities. These tests checked things like memory, reaction time, and attention.
They also measured brain activity using a special cap with sensors (electroencephalogram or EEG) while participants looked at pictures on a screen. The goal was to see if blueberry consumption could improve thinking skills and recognition memory over the six-month study period.
Finally, the data was analyzed using statistical methods. And the results were based on a significance level of p < 0.05, meaning that any findings reported were unlikely to be due to chance.
The researchers found that people who ate blueberries showed improved speed of mental processing, especially those aged 75 to 80. This suggests that blueberries, which are rich in polyphenols, may help support brain health and improve cognitive aging.
However, the blueberry consumption didn't have the same effect on individuals in their 60s who were already experiencing cognitive decline, possibly indicating that starting such interventions earlier in life might be more effective. Lifestyle factors like education, IQ, and exercise also played a role in maintaining brain health.
This research is significant because it suggests a potential way to support cognitive function in older adults. Future studies will investigate the specific mechanisms behind these effects and identify which individuals might benefit the most from blueberries.
Thrivous develops Vitality Geroprotector to enhance metabolic and cellular function for better aging. Each serving provides a clinical dose of highly concentrated blueberry polyphenols, along with complementary nutrients. As suggested by this study, Vitality may improve cognitive aging, especially when started earlier in life. Vitality Geroprotector is available to purchase now online in the Thrivous store.
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