Cognitive decline is associated with lifestyle-related factors such as overweight, blood pressure, and dietary composition. Studies have reported beneficial effects of dietary anthocyanins on cognition in older adults and children. However, the effect of anthocyanin-rich Aronia melanocarpa extract (AME) on cognition is unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the effect of long-term supplementation with AME on cognitive performance, mood, and vascular function in healthy, middle-aged, overweight adults. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel study, 101 participants either consumed 90 mg AME, 150 mg AME, or placebo for 24 weeks. The grooved pegboard test, number cross-out test, and Stroop test were performed as measures for psychomotor speed, attention, and cognitive flexibility. Mood was evaluated with a visual analogue scale, serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was determined, and vascular function was assessed by carotid ultrasounds and blood pressure measurements. AME improved psychomotor speed compared to placebo (90 mg AME: change = -3.37; p = 0.009). Furthermore, 150 mg AME decreased brachial diastolic blood pressure compared to 90 mg AME (change = 2.44; p = 0.011), but not compared to placebo. Attention, cognitive flexibility, BDNF, and other vascular parameters were not affected. In conclusion, AME supplementation showed an indication of beneficial effects on cognitive performance and blood pressure in individuals at risk of cognitive decline.
Keywords: BDNF; anthocyanins; black chokeberry; brain health; cognition; cyanidin-3-glycosides; human; overweight; polyphenols.