According to a recent study conducted by Columbia University, following a Western-style diet can worsen memory loss in old age. However, the study found that individuals who consume foods rich in flavanols, which are found in certain vegetables, fruits, and other sources, have a lower chance of experiencing age-related cognitive decline.
Prescribing flavanols can lower Alzheimer’s disease risk
Researchers found that restoring flavanols in people over 60 with mild deficiencies notably enhanced their cognitive abilities. This research establishes a connection that could lead to the developing of a brain health screening program. The findings propose that flavanol supplements might be recommended to individuals in their 40s and 50s to lower the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
Study co-leader Adam Brickman, neuropsychology professor at Columbia University, found that individuals with low-flavanol diets experienced significant improvement in cognitive function. Therefore, incorporating flavanol-rich diets or supplements could potentially enhance cognitive function in older adults.
The global number of dementia cases is expected to triple by 2050, surpassing 150 million. This finding supports the notion that, similar to infants’ developing brains, the ageing brain relies on specific nutrients for well-being.
With people living longer in the 21st century, research suggests different nutrients are required to support ageing brains. The study, which utilizes biomarkers to measure flavanol consumption, can serve as a model for identifying additional necessary nutrients, encouraging further research.
Flavanols can enhance the cognitive decline
The study randomly assigned 3,500 older individuals without health issues to take a daily supplement or a placebo for three years. The supplement contained flavanols (500mg) and epicatechins (80mg), an amount typically recommended from dietary sources. After one year, participants with poorer diets and lower flavanol levels experienced an average memory score improvement of 10.5% compared to the placebo group and 16% compared to their initial memory score.
Long-term cognitive assessments demonstrated that the positive effects after one year continued for another two years. These findings provide compelling evidence that a lack of flavanols is a contributing factor to age-related memory decline.