Scientists have named a food supplement that can improve brain function in the elderly

Scientists have named a food supplement that can improve brain function in the elderly


Researchers from King’s College London have found that dietary fiber supplements can help improve brain function in older people.

The research used not food, but supplements with two types of fiber, which are naturally found in onions, chicory roots, sweet potatoes, bananas, asparagus, etc.

According to the scientists, in 3 months, the prebiotic improved cognitive abilities and reaction speed in the elderly. At the same time, it did not significantly affect the muscle strength of the participants.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications, informs Medical News Today. But scientists emphasize that further tests are needed.

Scientists say that memory deterioration with age is a normal phenomenon. However, diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can accelerate cognitive decline in the aging brain.

Although there is currently no 100% cure for dementia, a healthy lifestyle and certain medications can help slow its progression. And the health of the intestine also affects it.

The gut microbiome consists of bacteria, archaea, viruses, eukaryotic microbes that inhabit the gut, their collective genomes, and the environment.

But with age, the resilience of the gut microbiome decreases, as it becomes more vulnerable to disease, medications and lifestyle changes, scientists explain.

“A change in gut microbiota can affect both muscle physiology and cognitive behavior”scientists say.

Since fiber is “food” for intestinal microflora, scientists decided to investigate the effect of prebiotic supplements with it on people’s cognitive abilities.

The scientists chose 2 supplements – dietary fiber inulin and vegetable fructooligosaccharides (FOS). In nature, inulin accumulates in chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, dahlias, onion, burdock, sweet potato, artichoke, etc.

And FOS are found in blue agave, yacon root, garlic, onions (especially leeks), chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus and bananas.

36 pairs of twins (72 people) aged 60+ took part in the study. In each pair, one person received either a placebo or a prebiotic daily for 12 weeks.

Neither the team nor the study participants knew exactly what they were getting until the trial was over.

All participants were also prescribed special exercises and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

“We know that inulin and FOS are safe and inexpensive prebiotic supplements. We were also influenced by another study involving nursing home patients.

It showed improvements in hand grip strength and less fatigue and weakness in those who took the supplements.”– said the head of the team of scientists Claire Steeves.

Also, previous studies have shown that FOS can slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease as a result decrease in the level of beta-amyloid in the brainas well as reduce neuroinflammation and improve memory.

The fiber-supplemented group appeared to perform better on tests of brain function (including a test for an early marker of Alzheimer’s disease), as well as on tests of reaction speed and information processing.

The scientists add that the prebiotic supplement leads to a change in the composition and functionality of the intestinal microbiome (for example, an increase in the relative number of bifidobacteria).

“We know there is a connection between gut bacteria and the brain. This study provides further evidence for this connection and is extremely promising for future trials aimed at improving memory.”– adds Claire.

Of course, further research is still needed for definitive conclusions. Colleagues say they would like to see similar trials with food (that is, food sources of prebiotics) rather than supplements.

We will remind, earlier scientists compared the effect of diets on heart health. Who won: meat eaters, vegans or “flexitarians”?

Importantly! This material is based on the latest and current scientific research, is of an informational and reference nature only and cannot be the basis for establishing a medical diagnosis. To establish a diagnosis and receive treatment, be sure to consult a doctor!


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