Strawberries for reversing cognitive decline? Original paper

In this randomized controlled trial in older adults with subjective cognitive decline, daily supplementation with strawberry powder had a minimal effect on measures of cognitive function.

This Study Summary was published on February 6, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this randomized controlled trial in older adults with subjective cognitive decline, daily supplementation with strawberry powder had a minimal effect on measures of cognitive function.

What was studied?

Whether supplementation with strawberries improves cognitive function in older adults with subjective cognitive decline.

The outcomes assessed were executive function, lexical access, verbal memory, visual-spatial memory, and interference in memory, all of which were assessed using different cognitive tasks. The other outcomes were depression symptoms (assessed via the Beck Depression Inventory), fasting glucose and insulin, HOMA-IR, the ratio of triglycerides to HDL-C, body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference.

Who was studied?

30 participants (aged 50–65; 25 women, 5 men; BMI of at least 25) with insulin resistance and subjective cognitive decline who were recruited from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Individuals with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or diabetes were excluded.

How was it studied?

In this 12-week randomized controlled trial, the participants were assigned to consume either 13 grams of strawberry powder (derived from 130 grams or approximately 1 cup of fresh strawberries) or a placebo daily.

The participants were instructed to refrain from consuming berries for at least 2 weeks before the study and throughout the study. Three-day food records were collected at baseline and the end of the study to assess changes in total intake of energy, macronutrient, and anthocyanin (a type of flavonoid that is concentrated in berries and believed to be primarily responsible for their health benefits).

What were the results?

Compared to the placebo group, only memory interference and depression symptoms improved in the strawberry group.

Anything else I need to know?

The California Strawberry Commission provided funding for the study and donated the strawberry and placebo powders used.

A limitation of this study is the small number of men included, all of whom were in the placebo group. Thus, it’s unclear whether the results are generalizable to men with subjective cognitive decline.

This Study Summary was published on February 6, 2024.