The effect of dietary supplementation on brain-derived neurotrophic factor and cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's dementia

J Clin Transl Res. 2017 Dec 3;3(3):337-343. eCollection 2018 Jan 15.


Background and aim: The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of an aloe polymannose multinutrient complex (APMC) on pro brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and mature BDNF in persons with moderate to severe Alzheimer's dementia.

Methods: A 12-month open-label trial was utilized to evaluate the effect of the APMC on proBDNF and BDNF and their relationship to cognitive functioning. Thirty-four adults were enrolled and consumed 4 teaspoons/day of APMC for 12 months. Subjects were assessed at baseline and twelve months follow-up for proBDNF and BDNF and with a neuropsychological battery to measure cognitive functioning. Cognitive functioning was correlated with proBDNF and BDNF.

Results: Few adverse effects were reported. While proBDNF (baseline M = 6,108.9, SD = 854.9 and 12 months M = 5,799.2, SD = 573.4; p = 0.57) and BDNF (baseline M = 5,673.8, SD = 3,342.3 and 12 months M = 6,312.9, SD = 2,830.9; p = 0.29) did not significantly change, the correlations between the ADAS-cog total score and BDNF (r = -0.53, p = 0.04) and BDNF/proBDNF ratio (r = -0.58, p = 0.05) became statistically significant after 12 months of dietary supplementation. Other correlations were noted for various cognitive functioning assessments and BDNF and/or BDNF/proBDNF ratio at both baseline and 12 months.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that the relationship between cognitive functioning and BDNF and BDNF/proBDNF ratio improved in response to consumption of a dietary supplement in persons with Alzheimer's dementia, which is consistent with our previous findings on cognitive functioning.

Relevance for patients: Overall, our results showed modest improvements in clinical outcomes for a disease that otherwise has no standard conventional approach to treatment with proven efficacy.

Keywords: Alzheimer's dementia; aloe polymannose; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; cognitive function; dietary supplementation.