There has been increasing interest in food- and dietary supplement-based materials that may support healthy cognition. However, few studies have quantitatively measured bioavailability, bioactivity, or cognitive short- and long-term effects of these materials against placebo. Earlier clinical studies reported ability of coffee cherry extract (CCE) to a.) reduce levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in human blood and b.) to increase serum and exosomal levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neuroprotein essential for neurogenesis. Here, we examined CCE influence on cognitive performance. Seventy-one adults with mild cognitive decline completed this double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, 28-day regimen. Participants engaged in a cognitive challenge that involved working memory processes. Our results suggest that effects of CCE were notable during the first week and persisted throughout the study period. Specifically, participants on the CCE regimens had significant reductions in reaction time compared to placebo when comparing baseline to days 7 and 28 (p = 0.040, partial η2 = 0.130). A main effect of group was not identified for accuracy; however, strong trends were noted between the placebo group and two of the three CCE groups. These results suggest CCE, when taken in the morning or twice per day, is associated with improvements in reaction times and trends toward indications of improved accuracy. Although further research is required, these observations may be indicative of underlying processes such as increased processing speed, sustained attention, and/or focus.
Keywords: Polyphenols; brain derived neurotrophic factor; n-back; nutraceutical; reaction time.