Consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice for 12 weeks improves memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia

Abstract

Purpose

Dietary flavonoids, including anthocyanins, may positively influence cognition and may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of dementia. We aimed to assess whether daily consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice changed cognitive function in older adults with dementia. Blood pressure and anti-inflammatory effects were examined as secondary outcomes.

Methods

A 12-week randomised controlled trial assessed cognitive outcomes in older adults (+70 year) with mild-to-moderate dementia (n = 49) after consumption of 200 ml/day of either a cherry juice or a control juice with negligible anthocyanin content. Blood pressure and inflammatory markers (CRP and IL-6) were measured at 6 and 12 weeks. ANCOVA controlling for baseline and RMANOVA assessed change in cognition and blood pressure.

Results

Improvements in verbal fluency (p = 0.014), short-term memory (p = 0.014) and long-term memory (p ≤ 0.001) were found in the cherry juice group. A significant reduction in systolic (p = 0.038) blood pressure and a trend for diastolic (p = 0.160) blood pressure reduction was evident in the intervention group. Markers of inflammation (CRP and IL-6) were not altered.

Conclusion

Inclusion of an anthocyanin-rich beverage may be a practical and feasible way to improve total anthocyanin consumption in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia, with potential to improve specific cognitive outcomes.

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Acknowledgments

Agritechnology Pty Ltd for producing and supplying in kind the juice utilised in this research.

Funding

This work was supported by the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI).

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Correspondence to Katherine Kent.

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Kent, K., Charlton, K., Roodenrys, S. et al. Consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice for 12 weeks improves memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia. Eur J Nutr 56, 333–341 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1083-y

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Keywords

  • Cherry
  • Cognition
  • Anthocyanin
  • Dementia