Scientists from Maastricht University, BioActor BV, and the University of East Anglia report that 90 mg per day of the anthocyanin-rich Aronia melanocarpa extract for 24 weeks led to significant improvements in psychomotor speed.
A higher dose (150 mg per day) also produced improvements in diastolic blood pressure, according to findings published in Nutrients.
However, no improvements were recorded for a raft of other cognitive endpoints, including attention, cognitive flexibility, mood, or serum BDNF concentrations. BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, has been described as an important neurotrophic factor participating in memory and learning.
“To our knowledge, this is the first human intervention study evaluating the effects of AME supplementation, using an anthocyanin-rich Aronia extract, on cognition,” wrote the scientists.
The randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel study included 101 healthy, middle-aged, overweight adults split into three groups: Groups one and two received Aronia melanocarpa extract (AME) supplements at daily doses of 90 or 150 mg per day, respectively, while the third group received placebo.
After 24 weeks of supplementation, the results showed that psychomotor speed – the relationship between thinking skills and physical movement – improved for the dominant hand for the lower dose group, compared to placebo.
The scientists did not explain why the effects were observed for the lower but not the higher dose group.
“Our results shown here are an indication that AME could have a protective effect on cognition and blood pressure in healthy, middle-aged, overweight adults,” they wrote.
“Further research is necessary to elucidate the mechanism associated with the effect of Aronia melanocarpa on cognition, in populations with more advanced cognitive decline.”
2020, 12(8), 2475; doi: 10.3390/nu12082475
“The Effect of Long-Term Aronia melanocarpa Extract Supplementation on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Vascular Function: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy, Middle-Aged Individuals”
Authors: S. Ahles, et al.