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Improved metabolic function and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults following a single dose of wild blueberry

Whyte, A. R., Rahman, S., Bell, L. ORCID:, Edirisinghe, I., Krikorian, R., Williams, C. M. ORCID: and Burton-Freeman, B. (2021) Improved metabolic function and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults following a single dose of wild blueberry. European Journal of Nutrition, 60 (3). pp. 1521-1536. ISSN 1436-6215

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00394-020-02336-8


Purpose: Research has demonstrated cognitive benefits following acute polyphenol-rich berry consumption in children and young adults. Berry intake also has been associated with metabolic benefits. No study has yet examined cognitive performance in middle-aged adults. We investigated the relationships among cognitive and metabolic outcomes in middle-aged adults following wild blueberry (WBB) consumption. Methods: Thirty-five individuals aged 40 to 65 years participated in a randomized, double blind, cross-over study. Participants consumed a breakfast meal and 1-cup equivalent WBB drink or matched placebo beverage on two occasions. Participants completed cognitive tasks and had blood drawn before and at regular intervals for 8 h after each meal/treatment. Changes in episodic memory and executive function (EF) were assessed alongside plasma levels of glucose, insulin, and triglyceride. Results: Analysis of the memory related Auditory Verbal Learning Task (AVLT) word recognition measure revealed a decrease in performance over the test day after placebo intake, whereas performance after WBB was maintained. For the AVLT word rejection measure, participants identified more foils following WBB in comparison to placebo. Benefits were also observed for EF on the Go-NoGo task with fewer errors following WBB intake on cognitively demanding invalid NoGo trials in comparison to placebo. Furthermore, in comparison to placebo, response times were faster for the Go-NoGo task, specifically at 4h and 8h following WBB treatment. We also observed reduced post meal glucose and insulin, but not triglyceride, concentrations in comparison to placebo over the first 2h following ingestion. Though the addition of Age, BMI, glucose and insulin as covariates to the analysis reduced the significant effect of beverage for AVLT word rejection, metabolic outcomes did not interact with treatment to predict cognitive performance with the exception of one isolated trend. Conclusions: This study indicated acute cognitive benefits of WBB intake in cognitively healthy middle-aged individuals, particularly in the context of demanding tasks and cognitive fatigue. WBB improved glucose and insulin responses to a meal. Further research is required to elucidate the underlying mechanism by which WBB improves cognitive function.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
ID Code:91969
Uncontrolled Keywords:Wild Blueberry, Cognition, Executive Function, Glucose, Insulin, Fruit, Polyphenols


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