Scientists from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center and elsewhere found that daily blueberry supplementation may prevent cognitive decline in adults with higher dementia risk.
Late-life dementia typically develops over a period of many years beginning in midlife.
The prevalence of metabolic problems also accelerates in middle age and is a big risk factor for dementia.
Previous studies have found that blueberry supplementation can improve cognitive performance and influence metabolism and brain function.
Therefore, it may have a role in early intervention to prevent dementia.
In the current study, researchers examined the effects of daily blueberry supplementation in middle-aged adults. These people had insulin-resistant symptoms and a higher risk for dementia.
The team enrolled overweight men and women, aged 50 to 65 years, with subjective cognitive decline (SCD).
Insulin resistance is resistance to the hormone insulin, resulting in increased blood sugar.
The hormone insulin helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
With insulin resistance, the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Glucose can’t enter the cells as easily, so it builds up in the blood. This can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
SCD is the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss.
It is a form of cognitive impairment and one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
The researchers found the people who received daily blueberry supplementation showed improved language and memory performances. These people also reported less memory encoding difficulty in daily life activities.
In addition, the people who received daily blueberry supplementation had healthier insulin levels in the body.
The cognitive findings showed improved executive ability in these middle-aged adults.
Based on the findings, the team suggests that middle-aged adults with insulin resistance and SCD could get benefits from daily blueberry supplementation.
The method may provide protection against cognitive decline when used early in people with high dementia risk.
The research was published in Nutrients and conducted by Robert Krikorian et al.
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