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Effects of a Six-Month Multi-Ingredient Nutrition Supplement Intervention of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, vitamin D, Resveratrol, and Whey Protein on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial

  • Catherine Moran
  • A. Scotto di Palumbo
  • J. Bramham
  • A. Moran
  • B. Rooney
  • G. De Vito
  • B. Egan
Brief Report
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Abstract

Objectives

To investigate the impact of a six-month multi-ingredient nutrition supplement intervention (Smartfish®), containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamin D, resveratrol, and whey protein, on cognitive function in Irish older adults.

Design

Double-blind, randomised controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02001831). A quantitative, mixedmodel design was employed in which the dependent variable (cognitive function) was analysed with a between-subjects factor of group (placebo, intervention) and within-subjects factor of testing occasion (baseline, three-months, six-months).

Setting

Community-based intervention including assessments conducted at University College Dublin, Ireland.

Participants

Thirty-seven community-dwelling older adults (68-83 years; mean (x̅)= 75.14 years; standard deviation (SD)= 3.64; 18 males) with normal cognitive function (>24 on the Mini Mental State Examination) were assigned to the placebo (n= 17) or intervention (n= 20) via a block randomisation procedure.

Intervention

Daily consumption for six-months of a 200mL liquid juice intervention comprising 3000mg omega-3 PUFAs [1500mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 1500mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)], 10μg vitamin D3, 150mg resveratrol and 8g whey protein isolate. The placebo contained 200mL juice only.

Measurements

A standardised cognitive assessment battery was conducted at baseline and follow-ups. Individual test scores were z-transformed to generate composite scores grouped into cognitive domains: executive function, memory, attention and sensorimotor speed. Motor imagery accuracy and subjective awareness of cognitive failures variables were computed from raw scores.

Results

A hierarchical statistical approach was used to analyse the data; first, by examining overall cognitive function, then by domain, and then by individual test scores. Using mixed between-within subjects, analyses of variance (ANOVAs), no significant differences in overall cognitive function or composite cognitive domains were observed between groups over time. The only significant interaction was for Stroop Color-Word Time (p< 0.05). The intervention group demonstrated reduced task completion time at three- and six-month follow-ups, indicating enhanced performance.

Conclusion

The present nutrition intervention encompassed a multi-ingredient approach targeted towards improving cognitive function, but overall had only a limited beneficial impact in the older adult sample investigated. Future investigations should seek to establish any potential clinical applications of such targeted interventions with longer durations of supplementation, or in populations with defined cognitive deficits.

Key words

Cognitive failures executive function aging nutrition supplementation 

Abbreviations and Symbols

ANOVA

Analysis of Variance

AVLT

Auditory Verbal Learning Test

BMI

Body Mass Index

CFQ

Cognitive Failures Questionnaire

COWA

Controlled Oral Word Association

C-W

Color-Word

DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid

EPA

Eicosapentaenoic acid

INT

Intervention Group

MI

Motor Imagery

MMSE

Mini Mental State Examination

PI

Principal Investigator

PLAC

Placebo Group

PUFA

Polyunsaturated fatty acid

RCT

Randomised controlled trial

SD

Standard deviation

TMT

Trail Making Test

TUG

Timed Up and Go

UCD

University College Dublin

WAIS-III

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III

Mean

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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Moran
    • 1
    • 3
  • A. Scotto di Palumbo
    • 2
  • J. Bramham
    • 1
  • A. Moran
    • 1
  • B. Rooney
    • 1
  • G. De Vito
    • 2
  • B. Egan
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports ScienceUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.School of Psychology, Trinity College Institute for NeuroscienceTrinity College Dublin, College GreenDublin 2Ireland

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