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Acute Intake of a Grape and Blueberry Polyphenol-Rich Extract Ameliorates Cognitive Performance in Healthy Young Adults During a Sustained Cognitive Effort

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Acute Intake of a Grape and Blueberry Polyphenol-Rich Extract Ameliorates Cognitive Performance in Healthy Young Adults During a Sustained Cognitive Effort

Pierre Philip et al. Antioxidants (Basel).

Abstract

Despite an increasing level of evidence supporting the individual beneficial effect of polyphenols on cognitive performance, information related to the potential synergistic action of these phytonutrients on cognitive performance during a prolonged cognitive effort is currently lacking. This study investigated the acute and sustained action of a polyphenols-rich extract from grape and blueberry (PEGB), on working memory and attention in healthy students during a prolonged and intensive cognitive effort. In this randomised, cross-over, double blind study, 30 healthy students consumed 600 mg of PEGB or a placebo. Ninety minutes after product intake, cognitive functions were assessed for one hour using a cognitive demand battery including serial subtraction tasks, a rapid visual information processing (RVIP) task and a visual analogical scale. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and plasma flavan-3-ols metabolites quantification were also performed. A 2.5-fold increase in serial three subtraction variation net scores was observed following PEGB consumption versus placebo (p < 0.001). A trend towards significance was also observed with RVIP percentage of correct answers (p = 0.058). No treatment effect was observed on FMD. Our findings suggest that consumption of PEGB coupled with a healthy lifestyle may be a safe alternative to acutely improve working memory and attention during a sustained cognitive effort.

Keywords: brain; catechin; cognition; epicatechin; flavanols; flavonoids; human; monomers; single dose.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest excepted for co-authors L.P. and C.P. who are employees of Activ’Inside.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) flowchart diagram. FMD: flow-mediated dilation; V1: visit 1; V2: visit 2.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Testing visits schedule. Participant compliance was controlled at the beginning of each testing visit. After evaluation of cardiovascular parameters and blood sampling, they were served with a standardised breakfast and exposed to the cognitive demand battery (CDB) twice for practice before treatment intake. After a 90 min at rest (absorption period), subjects were transferred in a dedicated room for 66 min of intensive cognitive challenge comprising 6 consecutive CDB repetitions in order to test attention and working memory through a serial three subtraction task (STS), a serial seven subtraction task (SSS), a rapid visual information processing task (RVIP), and subjective ratings using visual analogical scales (VAS). After a second set of cardiovascular measures and blood sampling, subject was having a snack before terminating the visit.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Cognitive net scores (difference from first score, Δ) along the CDB repetitions: (a) STS net score, (b) RVIP% correct and (c) SSS net score. STS and SSS net score were obtained by making the difference between the number of correct answers and the number of errors. A total of six CDB measures (every 11 min) were performed during the cognitive challenge. Data are expressed in mean ± SE. p-values generated by the linear-mixed models are reported for the effects of treatment, repetition and treatment x repetition. p-values in bold are statistically significant. n = 30 for placebo and PEGB group.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Subjective ratings (difference from first score, Δ) of (a) mental fatigue, (b) alertness, (c) cognitive performance, and (d) anxiety using visual analogue scales (VAS) during the CDB repetitions. Data are expressed in mean ± SE. p-values generated by the linear-mixed models are reported for the effects of treatment, repetition, and treatment × repetition. p-values in bold are statistically significant. n = 30 for placebo and PEGB group.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Flavan-3-ols metabolites detected in human plasma samples (n = 10): (a) plasma concentration of total flavan-3-ols and their colonic metabolites detected 3.5 h after product ingestion; (b) individual plasma concentration of (epi)catechin conjugated metabolites detected. Data are expressed as mean ± SE. Significant statistical results for treatment effect from paired t-test are shown by (** p < 0.01).
Figure 6
Figure 6
Effect of time and treatment on flow mediated dilation and heart rate during visit: (a) percentage of post-ischemia arterial dilation from 30 s to 120 s; (b) area under the curve of post-ischemic total dilatation; (c) FMD peak; and (d) heart rate. Data are expressed as mean ± SE. Significant statistical results for time effect from linear-mixed models are shown by (** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001). n = 26 for placebo and PEGB group.

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