Previous research has shown beneficial effects of polyphenol-rich diets in ameliorating cognitive decline in aging adults. Here, using a randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled chronic intervention, we investigated the effect of two proprietary blueberry formulations on cognitive performance in older adults; a whole wild blueberry powder at 500 mg (WBP500) and 1000 mg (WBP1000) and a purified extract at 100 mg (WBE111). One hundred and twenty-two older adults (65⁻80 years) were randomly allocated to a 6-month, daily regimen of either placebo or one of the three interventions. Participants were tested at baseline, 3, and 6 months on a battery of cognitive tasks targeting episodic memory, working memory and executive function, alongside mood and cardiovascular health parameters. Linear mixed model analysis found intervention to be a significant predictor of delayed word recognition on the Reys Auditory Verbal Learning Task (RAVLT), with simple contrast analysis revealing significantly better performance following WBE111 at 3 months. Similarly, performance on the Corsi Block task was predicted by treatment, with simple contrast analysis revealing a trend for better performance at 3 months following WBE111. Treatment also significantly predicted systolic blood pressure (SBP) with simple contrast analysis revealing lower SBP following intervention with WBE111 in comparison to placebo. These results indicate 3 months intervention with WBE111 can facilitate better episodic memory performance in an elderly population and reduce cardiovascular risk factors over 6 months.
Keywords: anthocyanin; blood pressure; cognition; episodic memory; flavonoid; older adults; wild blueberry.