Astaxanthin & Immune Health / Fiber & Cognitive Health / ALA & Memory

Alpha-Linolenic Acid May Help Support Aspect of Cognitive Health

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in plant-based foods. Dietary sources of ALA include flaxseeds, rapeseed, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. A recent study has found that daily consumption of ALAs may help support verbal fluency, a cognitive function that assists with the retrieval of information from memory.

The researchers recruited 60 adults between the ages of 65 and 80 for their study. They were given 3.7 grams of flaxseed oil containing 2.2 grams of ALA or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Cognitive function was evaluated at baseline and at the end of the study period using the Montreal cognitive assessment test, the mini-mental state examination, and the frontal assessment battery at bedside.

Participants in the flaxseed group saw significant improvements in verbal fluency scores in the frontal assessment battery at bedside compared to the placebo group. Scores in other areas of cognition did not show significant differences in improvement.

The study was conducted by researchers from Tohoku University. It was published online ahead of print on March 21, 2023 in the journal Nutrients.

In a previous study, higher consumption of ALAs was found to be associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

article 2Low Bone Density May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Cognitive Impairment

As the body ages, certain changes naturally occur including gradual reductions in cognitive function and some loss of bone mineral density. According to a new study, people with the lowest bone density scores had an increased risk of cognitive impairment.

Participants in the study included 3,651 adults with an average age of 72. None were experiencing cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study. Bone mineral density was evaluated at baseline. Participants were followed for 11 years, and all incidences of cognitive impairment were recorded.

Participants with the lowest bone mineral density at baseline were found to have a 42% increased risk of developing cognitive impairment. While the study found an association between low bone density and cognitive impairment, it did not show that low bone density causes cognitive impairment.

The study was conducted by researchers from Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam. It was published online ahead of print on March 22, 2023 in the journal Neurology.

article 3Astaxanthin May Help Support Immune Health

High intensity physical activity may suppress the immune response and increase the risk of infection, especially in the upper respiratory tract. According to a new report, supplementation with astaxanthin may provide immune support following high intensity physical activity.

Researchers from Appalachian State University recruited 18 long-distance runners for their study. The participants received 8 mg of astaxanthin or a placebo daily for 4 weeks. They switched interventions after a 2-week washout period.

Participants ran for 2.25 hours following the supplementation period. Blood samples were collected at baseline, at the end of the supplementation period, and 1.5, 3, and 24-hours after performing the long-distance running exercise. They were used to evaluate muscle damage, inflammation, and immune response proteins.

Astaxanthin supplementation resulted in fewer exercise-induced decreases in plasma levels of immune-related proteins. Plasma immunoglobulin levels decreased significantly in both groups post-exercise. However, the levels recovered to normal 24 hours post-exercise in the astaxanthin group but not in the placebo group.

No differences were seen in muscle soreness, muscle soreness, or inflammation.

The study was published online ahead of print on March 21, 2023 in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Astaxanthin-rich microalgae was found to help support immune health in runners in a previous study.

article 4Fiber Intake May Help Those Genetically Predisposed for Cognitive Decline

Dietary fiber is best known for supporting digestive and cardiovascular health. More recent research indicates the prebiotic effects of fiber can lead to a healthier balance of good bacteria that can help other parts of the body A new study suggests that higher intake of dietary fiber may provide cognitive benefits for people with the APOE4 gene. This gene is believed to indicate a higher risk for cognitive decline as the body ages.

Participants in the study included 848 adults with an average age of 74. Cognitive function was evaluated at baseline, 3 years, 6 years, 9 years, and 15 years using the Mini-Mental State Examination. Dietary fiber intake was also measured during these intervals.

Participants with the APOE4 gene received cognitive benefits from dietary fiber. An increase of 5 grams per day of dietary fiber was associated with a 30% lower risk of developing cognitive decline.

No association was found between dietary fiber intake and cognitive function in participants without the APOE4 gene.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Barcelona. It was published online ahead of print on January 27, 2023 in the journal Age and Ageing.

A previous study found that wild blueberries may help support cognitive health.