As we age, our brain function can start to decline, leading to memory loss and other cognitive problems. Finding ways to slow down or prevent this decline is important, especially as our population ages.
Researchers in Norway wanted to see if a particular type of nutrient called anthocyanins could help maintain cognitive function in older people at risk of dementia. Anthocyanins are found in fruits and vegetables and are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The study involved 206 individuals aged 60-80 with either mild cognitive impairment or two or more cardiometabolic disorders, such as diabetes, hypertension, or obesity. They were randomly assigned to take either anthocyanin capsules or a placebo for 24 weeks.
The researchers measured the participants' cognitive function using a computerized test battery called CogTrack, which measures various aspects of memory and thinking skills. They found no significant difference in memory scores between the two groups at the end of the study. However, they found a substantial difference in the rate of decline in memory scores throughout the study. The group taking the anthocyanin capsules had a slower memory score decline than the placebo group.
The researchers concluded that while anthocyanin supplementation was safe and well-tolerated, further studies are needed to determine whether it can reduce cognitive decline in older people at risk of dementia.
This study is critical because it shows that even minor improvements in cognitive decline can be beneficial in the long term. While there is no cure for dementia, there are things we can do to help prevent it or slow it down, such as eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, staying physically active, and engaging in mentally stimulating activities. This study suggests that anthocyanins may be another tool in our arsenal against cognitive decline, and further research in this area is needed.