Antioxidant-rich supplement may boost memory: RCT

Twelve weeks of supplementation in middle-aged people with subjective memory complaints was also associated with significant increases in plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)โ€”an important neurotrophic factor participating in memory and learning, compared to placebo.

Additionally, the vitamin E, astaxanthin and grape juice extract supplement led to significant decreases in plasma malondialdehyde (MDA), a reactive carbonyl compound and a marker of oxidative stress.

โ€œ[G]iven the promising improvements in episodic memory identified in this study, it is postulated that the nutraceutical may have protective effects in this brain region,โ€ wrote researchers from Clinical Research Australia, Murdoch University (Australia) and Utah-based Pharmanex Research. โ€œHowever, this requires confirmation in future trials.โ€

Study detailsโ€‹

The researchers recruited 100 people between the ages of 40 and 70 to participate in their double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. The participants were equally divided into two groups: One group received a daily supplement containing 12 mg of vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol), 9 mg of astaxanthin and 250 mg of grape juice extract, and the other group received a placebo.

The results showed that the antioxidant-rich supplement led to larger improvements in episodic memory, compared to placebo, but no improvements were recorded for working memory or verbal learning.

Additionally, based on data from the Everyday Memory Questionnaire, a secondary outcome measure of cognitive performance, participants in the active supplement group reported a 42% improvement in memory over the course of the study, compared to an 18% increase in the placebo group.

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