A University of South Florida (USF) study has reported that a formula of nutrients that are high in antioxidants and other natural components can boost the speed at which the brains of older adults processed information.
The USF-developed nutritional supplement, including extracts from blueberries and green tea combined with vitamin D3 and amino acids, including carnosine, resulted in improved cognitive performance in seniors.
The study, conducted at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, appeared in the current issue of Rejuvenation Research (Vol. 17 No. 1, 2014).
“After two months, test results showed modest improvements in two measures of cognitive processing speed for those taking NT-020 compared to those taking placebo,” said Brent Small, PhD, a professor in USF’s School of Aging Studies. “Processing speed is most often affected early on in the course of cognitive aging. Successful performance in processing tasks often underlies more complex cognitive outcomes, such as memory and verbal ability.”
“The basis for the use of polyphenol-rich nutritional supplements as a moderator of age-related cognitive decline is the age-related increase in oxidative stress and inflammation,” said study co-principal investigator Paula C. Bickford, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and senior research career scientist at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. “Non-vitamin polyphenols are the most abundant modulators of oxidative stress and inflammation in our diet. NT-020 is 95 percent polyphenols.”
“In the future, having markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as brain-based measures of functioning, may allow us to identify the manner by which this compound, as well as others, may influence functioning,” the researchers concluded.
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