Consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice for 12 weeks improves memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia

Eur J Nutr. 2017 Feb;56(1):333-341. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-1083-y. Epub 2015 Oct 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthocyanins / administration & dosage*
  • Anthocyanins / blood*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Dementia / blood
  • Dementia / diet therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / analysis*
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Prunus avium / chemistry


  • Anthocyanins
  • Biomarkers
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ascorbic Acid