Cranberry powder supplementation may support cognitive health in aging populations, says recent study

A recently published study funded by the Cranberry Institute found that supplementation with a freeze-dried cranberry powder had a positive effect on some cognitive health outcomes.

A recently published study1 funded by the Cranberry Institute found that supplementation with a freeze-dried cranberry powder had a positive effect on some cognitive health outcomes. In the parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 60 adults between the ages of 50 and 80 years were assigned to take two sachets (4.5 grams each) per day of the cranberry powder (equivalent to a cup of fresh cranberries) or placebo for 12 weeks. Prior to intervention, subjects completed a long cognitive battery that included measures of processing speed, working memory, episodic memory and spatial navigation.

Results showed that compared to placebo, subject taking the cranberry powder saw significant improvements in visual episodic memory performance. Pointing to potential mechanisms of action, the improvements experienced by subjects taking the cranberry powder coincided with increased perfusion in the right entorhinal cortex, the accumbens area, and the caudate, according to imaging from MRI.

"Demonstrating in humans that cranberry supplementation can improve cognitive performance and identifying some of the mechanisms responsible is an important step for this research field,” said David Vauzour, PhD, a leading researchers of the study, and a senior research fellow in Molecular Nutrition at Norwich Medical School University of East Anglia. "It is essential that novel solutions are identified to help reduce age-related neurodegeneration and until now, cranberries were an unutilized natural resource."

Reference

  1. Flanagan E et al. “Chronic consumption of cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for 12 weeks improves episodic memory and regional brain perfusion in healthy older adults: A randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups feasibility study.” Frontiers in Nutrition, Published online ahead of print on May 19, 2022