Neurocognitive effects a combined polyphenolic-rich herbal extract in healthy middle-aged adults – a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study


Objective: This study assessed whether polyphenolic rich supplement containing Bacopa monnieri (BM: 300 mg), Panax quinquefolius ginseng (PQ: 100 mg) and whole coffee fruit extract (WCFE: 100 mg) could enhance cognitive performance, affect and cerebral-cortical activation over 28-days of intervention. Method: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-group study of 52 healthy adults between 35 and 65 years (M = 50.20, SD = 9.37) was conducted. Measures of cognition, affect and brain activity were measured at three time points: baseline, 28 days post intervention and 14 days post washout. At each time point, haemodynamic response in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) was measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Results: The polyphenolic-rich supplement reliably improved positive affect and delayed recall compared to placebo following 28 days of supplementation. For the brain, those in the active condition showed greater PFC activation on performance of the 2-back tasks post supplementation compared to placebo (p textless .05, d = 0.6). Discussion: This is the first report of a 28-day supplement intervention and 2-week follow-up study to assess changes in affect, cognition, cerebral haemodynamic response and BDNF in healthy middle-aged adults. The potential synergistic effects of polyphenolic compounds on neurocognitive function in middle-aged adults through emotional-cognitive processing and cognitive reserve are important for promoting brain and cognitive health.

Nutritional Neuroscience