Effect of long-term nutraceutical and dietary supplement use on cognition in the elderly - A 10-year systematic review of randomised controlled trials

Nathan D'Cuhna, Ekavi Georgousopoulou, Lakshika Dadigamuwage, Jane Kellett, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Jackson Thomas, Andrew McKune, Duane Mellor, Nenad Naumovski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nutraceuticals have generated interest as a way to mitigate the cognitive decline in older adults. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the evidence for these claims from the scientific literature in randomised, double-blinded, controlled trials (duration: ≥one yr; participants: n= ≥100; age(mean): ≥65yr). Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched four electronic databases (PUBMED, Scopus, CINAHL and Web of Science) and identified 25 studies published between the 15.06.2016 and 14.06.2016. Interventions included B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins and herbs. Of the B-vitamin studies, four found benefits to cognition with supplementation. The first of these B-vitamin studies, in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (n=266; duration=2yr), included benefit to executive function (p=0.015) and improvements in the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) among participants with baseline homocysteine above 11.3μmol/L (p<0.001). In the same sample, the second study found cognitive benefits of B-vitamins dependent on the higher baseline plasma omega-3 fatty status. The third B vitamin study (n=900; duration=2yr) reported improved performance in immediate (p=0.046) and delayed recall (p=0.013), while the fourth study (n=2919; duration=2y) reported slower rate of cognitive decline in the MMSE (p=0.05). One study investigating docosahexaenoic acid treatment (n=402; duration=1.5yr) revealed the slower rate of cognitive change in Apolipoprotein E є4 non carriers (p=0.03). As only five included studies revealed notable benefits, presently based on the specific compounds explored here, there is not compelling evidence to support the use nutraceuticals to improve cognition in the elderly. Future long-term trials of nutraceuticals should investigate interactions with blood biomarkers and genetic risk factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-298
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume119
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018

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