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12-Week Study Shows Daily Fiber Supplement Enhances Senior Cognition

12-Week Study Shows Daily Fiber Supplement Enhances Senior Cognition

Progressive decline in cognitive function and muscle loss are common yet growing problems in seniors.

 

Hence, the quest for effective preventive and curative measures. Recently, a study discovered promising interventions for brain function.

 

 

The Impact of Daily Fiber on Senior Cognition

According to a recent study1 by researchers from King’s College London’s School of Life Course & Population Sciences, a daily fiber supplement improved brain function in over 60s in just 12 weeks.

 

Adding this singular supplement to the diet could boost performance on memory tests linked to early Alzheimer’s disease signs.

 

However, prebiotic supplements, inulin and FOS, did not affect muscle strength.

 

Age-related disorders like cognitive decline and muscle loss are becoming more common as the world’s population ages.2

 

To address this concern, researchers at TwinsUK investigated how the microbiota could influence brain function and muscle health using two plant fiber supplements, Inulin and FOS. 

 

Microbiota refers to the diverse community of microorganisms living inside our bodies or on our skin.3

 

In this study, scientists focused on the gut microbiota- microorganisms within the intestines.

 

 

Study Methodology and Findings

Using the double-blind approach, 72 people, or 36 twin pairs over the age of 60, were randomly assigned to receive the supplement or a placebo every day.

 

They also performed resistance exercises and had a protein supplement through that period to improve muscle function. 

 

The researchers followed up the process remotely via video, online questionnaires, and cognitive tests.

 

Findings showed significant changes in the gut microbiome composition of participants who received the fiber supplement for 12 weeks, with an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium4.

 

The fiber supplement group also performed better in brain function tests, including the Paired Associates Learning (PAL) test5, an early assessment and detection tool for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

They also recorded improved performance in tests of reaction time and processing speed. In contrast, there was no significant difference in muscle strength between the groups.

 

 

Implications for Daily Living and Future Research

Brain function, reaction time, and processing time are important measures for daily living. They determine actions such as traffic response and preventing a simple trip-up from turning into a fall.

 

The study’s remote design innovatively proved that trials in older persons could be conducted in multiple settings globally without requiring lengthy travel or hospital visits.

 

It also acknowledged challenges such as digital literacy and access to the necessary technology, promising they will be addressed in future studies to improve the quality of life for aging populations worldwide.

 

FAQ

  • Can a daily fiber supplement really improve cognitive function?
    • Yes, the recent study highlighted in our article provides strong evidence that a daily fiber supplement can enhance cognitive functions such as memory and processing speed in individuals over 60.
  • Will this fiber supplement also help with muscle strength?
    • While the study focused on cognitive improvements, it did not find a significant impact on muscle strength from the fiber supplement alone. It’s important to complement dietary supplements with physical exercise for overall health.
  • Are there any specific types of fiber supplements recommended?
    • The study mentioned prebiotic supplements, such as inulin and FOS, which were shown to be effective. However, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

References

  1. Ni Lochlainn, M., Bowyer, R.C.E., Moll, J.M. et al. Effect of gut microbiome modulation on muscle function and cognition: the PROMOTe randomised controlled trial. Nat Commun 15, 1859 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-46116-y 
  2. Fhon JRS, Silva ARF, Lima EFC, Santos Neto APD, Henao-Castaño ÁM, Fajardo-Ramos E, Püschel VAA. Association between Sarcopenia, Falls, and Cognitive Impairment in Older People: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Feb 25;20(5):4156. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20054156. PMID: 36901167; PMCID: PMC10002412. 
  3. El-Sayed A, Aleya L, Kamel M. Microbiota’s role in health and diseases. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Jul;28(28):36967-36983. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-14593-z. Epub 2021 May 27. PMID: 34043164; PMCID: PMC8155182.
  4. O’Callaghan A, van Sinderen D. Bifidobacteria and Their Role as Members of the Human Gut Microbiota. Front Microbiol. 2016 Jun 15;7:925. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00925. PMID: 27379055; PMCID: PMC4908950.
  5. Barnett JH, Blackwell AD, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW. The Paired Associates Learning (PAL) Test: 30 Years of CANTAB Translational Neuroscience from Laboratory to Bedside in Dementia Research. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2016;28:449-74. doi: 10.1007/7854_2015_5001. PMID: 27646012.
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