04 May 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Deficits in the cerebral microcirculation contribute to age-related cognitive decline. In a pilot study of postmenopausal women, we found that supplementation with a low dose of resveratrol, a phytoestrogen, for 14 weeks improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions.

We have since undertaken a larger, longer term study to confirm these benefits. Postmenopausal women aged 45-85 years (n = 129) were randomized to take placebo or 75 mg trans-resveratrol twice daily for 12 months. Effects on cognition, cerebral blood flow, cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) and cardiometabolic markers (blood pressure, diabetes markers and fasting lipids) were assessed. Compared to placebo, resveratrol improved overall cognitive performance (P < 0.001) and attenuated the decline in CVR to cognitive stimuli (P = 0.038). The latter effect was associated with reduction of fasting blood glucose (r = -0.339, P = 0.023).

This long-term study confirms that regular consumption of resveratrol can enhance cognitive and cerebrovascular functions in postmenopausal women, with the potential to slow cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause.

13 February 2014 In Latest Scientific News

Results from the Whitehall II prospective study showed that men consuming alcoholic beverages excessively (> 36 g/d) experienced a faster cognitive decline compared to moderate drinkers.

The alcohol consumption of more than 7000 men and women with an average age of 56 years was recorded three times in the 10 years before the first cognitive assessment. Two more cognitive tests were performed during the 10 year follow-up. There were no differences in the cognitive decline among abstainers, quitters, and light or moderate drinkers (< 20 g/d) in men. However, men consuming more than 36 g of alcohol/d were more likely to experience a faster cognitive decline in all tests. A weaker evidence of this effect was observed in women consuming more than 19 g/d but only for one of the three cognitive tests. Female abstainers showed a faster cognitive decline compared to light drinkers (up to 9.9 g/d). The authors concluded that excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages in midlife is likely to be harmful for cognitive aging in men. However, a moderate intake does not seem to be deleterious for cognitive functioning as already shown in previous studies. The mechanisms involved in this association are complex. Cerebro- and cardiovascular pathways with effects over an extended period of time are thought to be involved. A lower vascular risk is related to moderate intake of alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, abstinence as well as excessive alcohol consumption are associated with a higher risk of vascular diseases, which consequently may increase the risk of cognitive impairment by direct neurotoxic and pro-inflammatory effects. 

Sabia S et al, Alcohol consumption and cognitive decline in early old age, Neurology 82, Jan 28, 2014, 1-8.


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