Purpose: Dietary flavonoids, including anthocyanins, may positively influence cognition and may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of dementia. We aimed to assess whether daily consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice changed cognitive function in older adults with dementia. Blood pressure and anti-inflammatory effects were examined as secondary outcomes.
Methods: A 12-week randomised controlled trial assessed cognitive outcomes in older adults (+70 year) with mild-to-moderate dementia (n = 49) after consumption of 200 ml/day of either a cherry juice or a control juice with negligible anthocyanin content. Blood pressure and inflammatory markers (CRP and IL-6) were measured at 6 and 12 weeks. ANCOVA controlling for baseline and RMANOVA assessed change in cognition and blood pressure.
Results: Improvements in verbal fluency (p = 0.014), short-term memory (p = 0.014) and long-term memory (p ≤ 0.001) were found in the cherry juice group. A significant reduction in systolic (p = 0.038) blood pressure and a trend for diastolic (p = 0.160) blood pressure reduction was evident in the intervention group. Markers of inflammation (CRP and IL-6) were not altered.
Conclusion: Inclusion of an anthocyanin-rich beverage may be a practical and feasible way to improve total anthocyanin consumption in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia, with potential to improve specific cognitive outcomes.
Keywords: Anthocyanin; Cherry; Cognition; Dementia.