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Effects of resveratrol on memory performance in older adults

Dietary habits such as caloric restriction or nutrients that mimic these effects may exert beneficial effects on brain aging. The plant-derived polyphenol resveratrol has been shown to increase memory performance in primates; however, interventional studies in older humans are lacking.
German researchers have tested whether supplementation of resveratrol would enhance memory performance in older adults and addressed potential mechanisms underlying this effect. The results were published on Journal of Neuroscience 2014, Volume 34, Number 23.
Twenty-three healthy overweight older individuals that successfully completed 26 weeks of resveratrol intake (200 mg/d) were pairwise matched to 23 participants that received placebo (total n = 46, 18 females, 50-75 years). Before and after the intervention/control period, subjects underwent memory tasks and neuroimaging to assess volume, microstructure, and functional connectivity (FC) of the hippocampus, a key region implicated in memory functions. In addition, anthropometry, glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation, neurotrophic factors, and vascular parameters were assayed. A significant effect of resveratrol on retention of words over 30 min compared with placebo (p = 0.038) was observed. In addition, resveratrol led to significant increases in hippocampal FC, decreases in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and body fat, and increases in leptin compared with placebo (all p < 0.05). Increases in FC between the left posterior hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex correlated with increases in retention scores and with decreases in HbA1c (all p < 0.05).
This study provides initial evidence that supplementary resveratrol improves memory performance in association with improved glucose metabolism and increased hippocampal FC in older adults. Their findings offer the basis for novel strategies to maintain brain health during aging.

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