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A review of the cognitive effects observed in humans following acute supplementation with flavonoids, and their associated mechanisms of action

Bell, L., Lamport, D., Butler, L. and Williams, C. (2015) A review of the cognitive effects observed in humans following acute supplementation with flavonoids, and their associated mechanisms of action. Nutrients, 7 (12). pp. 10290-10306. ISSN 2072-6643

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/nu7125538

Abstract/Summary

Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in varying concentrations in many plant-based foods. Recent studies suggest that flavonoids can be beneficial to both cognitive and physiological health. Long term flavonoid supplementation over a period of weeks or months has been extensively investigated and reviewed, particularly with respect to cognitive ageing and neurodegenerative disease. Significantly less focus has been directed towards the short term effects of single doses of flavonoids on cognition. Here, we review 21 such studies with particular emphasis on the subclass and dose of flavonoids administered, the cognitive domains affected by flavonoid supplementation, and the effect size of the response. The emerging evidence suggests that flavonoids may be beneficial to attention, working memory, and psychomotor processing speed in a general population. Episodic memory effects are less well defined and may be restricted to child or older adult populations. The evidence also points towards a dose-dependent effect of flavonoids, but the physiological mechanisms of action remain unclear. Overall, there is encouraging evidence that flavonoid supplementation can benefit cognitive outcomes within an acute time frame of 0–6 h. But larger studies, combining cognitive and physiological measures, are needed to strengthen the evidence base.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
ID Code:48643
Uncontrolled Keywords:flavonoid; polyphenol; cognition; effect size; mechanism
Publisher:MDPI

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