Purpose: Berry-derived phenolic compounds found in grapes have been associated with a number of health benefits, including the augmentation of human brain function and cognition. Previous intervention studies of Concord grape juice have demonstrated improvement to memory and driving ability following 3- to 4-month supplementation in middle-aged and older adults. However, no studies to date have demonstrated acute cognitive benefits of grape juice, and investigation of these effects in young adults is lacking.
Methods: This randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, counterbalanced-crossover study, assessed the effects of 230 ml purple grape juice or sugar-matched control in 20 healthy young adults. Computerised measures of episodic memory, working memory, attention and mood were completed at baseline and following a 20-min absorption period.
Results: Purple grape juice significantly improved reaction time on a composite attention measure (p = 0.047) and increased calm ratings (p = 0.046) when compared to placebo. Order effects also indicated an enduring positive effect on pre-dose memory reaction time (p = 0.018) and post-dose calm ratings (p = 0.019) when purple grape was consumed first.
Conclusions: These findings in a small sample of healthy young adults suggest that purple grape juice can acutely enhance aspects of cognition and mood. No significant effects of juice were observed on memory measures, suggesting that these may be less susceptible to manipulation following acute supplementation in healthy young adults. Potential mechanisms underlying these effects include modulation of cerebral blood flow, glucoregulation and inhibition of monoamine oxidase activity, all of which require further exploration.
Keywords: Cognition; Cognitive; Grape; Mood; Phenolic; Phytochemical; Polyphenol.