Enhanced task related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation.
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
NRC Research Press
© Copyright 2017 – Canadian Science Publishing
Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. High flavonoid intakes attenuate age-related cognitive decline, but data from human intervention studies are sparse. We investigated whether 12 weeks of blueberry concentrate supplementation improved brain perfusion, task-related activation and cognitive function in healthy older adults. Participants were randomised to consume either 30 ml blueberry concentrate providing 387 mg anthocyanidins (5 female, 7 male; age 67.5±3.0 y; BMI, 25.9±3.3 kg.m-2) or isoenergetic placebo (8 female, 6 male; age 69.0 ±3.3 y; BMI, 27.1±.4.0 kg.m-2). Pre- and post-supplementation, participants undertook a battery of cognitive function tests and a numerical Stroop test within a 1.5T MRI scanner while functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) were continuously acquired. Quantitative resting brain perfusion was determined using an arterial spin labelling (ASL) technique, and blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress were measured. Significant increases in brain activity were observed in response to blueberry supplementation relative to the placebo group within Brodmann areas 4/6/10/21/40/44/45, precuneus, anterior cingulate, and insula/thalamus (p<0.001), as well as significant improvements in grey matter perfusion in the parietal (5.0±1.8 vs -2.9±2.4 %, p=0.013) and occipital (8.0±2.6 vs -0.7±3.2 %, p=0.031) lobes. There was also evidence suggesting improvement in working memory (two back test) after blueberry versus placebo supplementation (p=0.05). Supplementation with an anthocyanin rich blueberry concentrate improved brain perfusion and activation in brain areas associated with cognitive function in healthy older adults.
This work was supported in part by the Alzheimer’s charity BRACE and CherryActive Ltd. Jonathan Fulford’s salary was supported via an NIHR grant and Zainie Aboo Bakkar was supported by a studentship from the University of Kuala Lumpar.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from NRC Research Press via the DOI in this record.
Published on the web 01 March 2017.
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