The study found that supplementation with a whole-fruit strawberry powder positively impacted memory and mood in subjects.
A recent study1 published in the journal Nutrients found that supplementation with a whole-fruit strawberry powder positively impacted memory and mood in subjects. In the study, 30 middle-aged, overweight subjects were randomized to receive either whole-fruit strawberry powder or placebo daily for 12 weeks. Each packet of the strawberry powder, supplied by the California Strawberry Commission, contained 13 g of powder, providing 36.8 mg anthocyanins derived from 130 g whole fruit and equivalent to about one cup whole fresh strawberries.
The study’s primary outcomes were cognitive and mood measures. Researchers used the Porteus Maze Test to assess executive function, controlled oral work production to assess lexical access, the California Verbal Learning Test to assess learning and long-term memory, and the Beck Depression Inventory-II to assess the intensity of depressive symptoms such as hopelessness, irritability, and guilt. Metabolic parameters were also measured.
Researchers did not find significant differences between the strawberry and placebo groups in executive function, lexical access, verbal memory, or visual-spatial memory but the strawberry group did experience a relative reduction of interference in verbal learning and memory, as well as lower mood disturbance relative to the placebo group. Subjects taking the strawberry powder exhibited fewer intrusion errors on a word list learning task, which the researchers said reflected a “reduction of interference of extraneous information during learning and recall.” This may also mean they have more effective executive control processes. The lower levels of depressive symptoms among subjects consuming the strawberry powder implies that these subjects have an improved emotional coping capability and lower stress levels, explain the researchers.
Additionally, researchers expected changes in metabolic parameters but did not observe any. Because of this, they believe the effects may be attributed to the anti-inflammatory actions of anthocyanins. "We wanted to work with a middle-aged, overweight population as dementia is a condition that is believed to develop over a period of decades. Furthermore, inflammation is likely a contributing factor related to metabolic disorders such as overweight/obesity, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes," explained Robert Krikorian, PhD, principal investigator and professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, in a press release.
"We are excited with these findings and the future of polyphenol research," added Chris Christian, senior vice president at the California Strawberry Commission. "The link between strawberry consumption and brain health has been well explored in both clinical and population-based studies. For example, strawberries and pelargonidin, a biochemical primarily found in strawberries, were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's dementia in studies conducted at Rush University. And, long-term observational studies, including the Health Professionals Study and the Nurses' Health Study, found that strawberry consumers had lower rates of cognitive decline.”
Krikorian, R.; Shidler, M.D.; Summer, S.S. Early Intervention in Cognitive Aging with Strawberry Supplementation. Nutrients, 2023, 15 (20): 4431. DOI: 10.3390/nu15204431