Flavonols May Slow Cognitive Decline
Having more antioxidant flavonols in your diet could slow cognitive decline, according to new research. These compounds are found naturally in foods such as wine, tea, fruits and vegetables. They are known for their antioxidant properties and are said to protect the brain from damage by free radicals. These chemicals are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help maintain the blood supply in the brain.
The research was conducted by the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP), a community-based prospective cohort. The study involved nearly 900 people between the ages of 70 and 80. They completed yearly cognitive tests and questionnaires regarding their diet and lifestyle. Researchers found that participants who consumed more flavonols had a slower rate of memory decline than those who ate less. Those who ate more of these substances also had more physical activity and had higher levels of education. Study participants were followed for seven years. The results of the study have been published in the journal Neurology.
The study used a validated food frequency questionnaire to gather information about the participants' dietary intake. Researchers then divided the participants into five groups based on their flavonol intake. The group that consumed the highest amount of flavonols was younger, more physically active, and had higher levels of education. Researchers also looked at the components of flavonols. These included isorhamnetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and methylxanthines. The participants in the top 20% of flavonol intakes were also more physically active and engaged in cognitive activities, but they controlled for other factors that affect cognitive decline.
The study found that the global cognitive score - a score calculated from 19 cognitive tests - declined at a slower rate for those who consumed more flavonols. This was especially true for people who consumed more of the antioxidant flavonols, kaempferol, and quercetin. After adjusting for other factors, the scores of those who consumed less flavonols declined at a faster rate than those who consumed more. The average global cognitive score for participants without dementia was 0.5, while the average score for people with Alzheimer's disease was -0.5. The participants who consumed the least amount of flavonols had a global cognitive score of -0.1. These results remained consistent after adjusting for factors such as age, gender, sex, smoking, genetic risk factor ApoE, and physical activity.
Researchers say that the relationship between increased flavonol intake and lower Alzheimer's risk may be due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of these compounds. These substances help protect cells in the brain and protect the blood supply in the brain, according to the study authors. They also said that the study doesn't prove that dietary flavonols actually slow cognitive decline.
Researchers noted that there were a variety of studies that were observational and don't prove cause and effect. They also noted that the self-reported food frequency questionnaire is not accurate for determining dietary intake. Regardless of the findings of the study, researchers noted that dietary changes should be started earlier in life.