Anthocyanin intake is associated with improved memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment

Publication Name

Nutrition Research


Research on the role of dietary anthocyanins in preventing cognitive decline in older adults shows promise. This study investigated the association between usual anthocyanin intake and indices of memory and cognition in 40 older adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment that were recruited to a randomized clinical trial. It was hypothesized that daily anthocyanin intake would be similar to healthy older adults and that higher anthocyanin intake would be associated with better cognitive performance. Cognitive performance was assessed using a battery of tests including the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). Dietary intake was assessed through 3-day food records and anthocyanin intake was quantified using the PhenolExplorer food composition database. Multivariate linear regression compared differences in cognitive performance between higher (>10 mg/d) and lower consumers (<10 mg/d). Overall, participants had low median intake of anthocyanins (5.3; interquartile range [IQR], 32.1 mg/d), with the lower consumer group eating negligible anthocyanins (median, 0.13; IQR, 1.5 mg/d), and the higher consumer group eating above the national average (median, 35.5; IQR, 71.5 mg/d). On the RAVLT, the higher anthocyanin consumer group recalled a greater number of words after a short delay and a distracter task (B, 2.07; standard error [SE], 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18-3.96; P = .03) and longer delay of 20 minutes (B, 2.68; SE, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.43-4.94; P = .02); and forgot less words after a long delay of 20 minutes (B, –2.63; SE, 0.63; 95% CI, –3.90 to –1.35; P< .001). Further investigation of the protective role of the usual consumption of dietary anthocyanins for memory and cognition in pathological and normal aging appears warranted. Trial registration: This cross-sectional study uses baseline data from a randomized controlled trial registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12618001184268).

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Funding Sponsor

Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute



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