A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that people who take resveratrol supplements, resveratrol, a compound found in red grape skins, have better short-term memory. In previous studies resveratrol has been shown to increase memory performance in primates; however, interventional studies in older humans are lacking.
The study tested whether supplementation of resveratrol would enhance memory performance in older adults and addressed potential mechanisms underlying this effect. Twenty-three healthy overweight older individuals that successfully completed 26 weeks of resveratrol intake (200 mg/d) were matched to 23 participants that received placebo (total n = 46, 18 females, 50– 75 years). Before and after the intervention/control period, subjects underwent memory tasks and neuroimaging to assess volume, microstructure, and functional connectivity (FC) of the hippocampus, a key region implicated in memory functions. In addition, anthropometry, glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation, neurotrophic factors, and vascular parameters were assayed. The researchers observed a significant effect of resveratrol on retention of words over 30 min compared with placebo. In addition, resveratrol led to significant increases in hippocampal FC, decreases in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and body fat, and increases in leptin compared with placebo. Increases in functional connectivity between the left posterior hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex correlated with increases in retention scores and with decreases in HbA1c.
This study provides initial evidence that supplementary resveratrol improves memory performance in association with improved glucose metabolism and increased hippocampal FC in older adults. The authors suggest that the findings offer the basis for novel strategies to maintain brain health during aging. Source: Effects of Resveratrol on Memory Performance, Hippocampal Functional Connectivity, and Glucose Metabolism in Healthy Older Adults. AV Witte, L Kerti, DS Margulies, and A Flöel. The Journal of Neuroscience, 4 June 2014, 34(23)