Good for the Brain

 There is a growing body of evidence which shows intervention with flavonoids supplements can enhance cognitive function as we age.

In recent years, human intervention studies have demonstrated that the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods is associated with improvements in cognitive function (1, 2). Specifically, flavonoids have been observed to exert positive effects on executive functioning and memory in both older adults and children Typically, cognitive domains which have shown improvements following acute interventions include executive function, attention, working memory, psychomotor processing speed, and episodic memory (3). Indeed, in a recent study of older adults, blueberry extract was observed to significantly improve episodic memory and visuospatial working memory after 3-month supplementation, when compared to a control group of participants. Even small doses (50mg) had shown positive effect on episodic memory performance (4)


The Haskap berry is particularly rich in the flavonoid anthocyanins and may aid the neurocognitive health in older adults. A study in 2018 found evidence for improvements in episodic memory and blood pressure following acute supplementation with haskap berry extract, with higher doses appearing most effective. The cognitive findings concur with previous literature that suggests episodic memory effects, and not executive function effects, are most prevalent in older adults following anthocyanin-rich berry supplementation (5)


(1)             Bell, L.; Lamport, D.J.; Butler, L.T.; Williams, C.M. A Review of the Cognitive Effects Observed in Humans Following Acute Supplementation with Flavonoids, and Their Associated Mechanisms of Action. Nutrients 2015, 7, 10290-10306.

(2)             Lamport, Daniel J. et al. ‘The Effects of Flavonoid and Other Polyphenol Consumption on Cognitive Performance: A Systematic Research Review of Human Experimental and Epidemiological Studies’. 1 Jan. 2012 : 5 – 25.


(3)             Whyte, Adrian R., Graham Schafer, and Claire M. Williams. "The effect of cognitive demand on performance of an executive function task following wild blueberry supplementation in 7 to 10 years old children." Food & function 8.11 (2017): 4129-4138.


(4)             Whyte, A.R.; Cheng, N.; Fromentin, E.; Williams, C.M. A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study to Compare the Safety and Efficacy of Low Dose Enhanced Wild Blueberry Powder and Wild Blueberry Extract (ThinkBlue™) in Maintenance of Episodic and Working Memory in Older Adults. Nutrients 2018, 10, 660.


(5)             Bell, L., Williams, C.M. A pilot dose–response study of the acute effects of haskap berry extract (Lonicera caerulea L.) on cognition, mood, and blood pressure in older adults. Eur J Nutr 58, 3325–3334 (2019).  

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