New research out of the University of South Florida has determined that a formula of nutrients high in antioxidants — derived from blueberries and green tea — helped boost the speed at which the brains of older adults processed information.
The study, which examined the effects of a USF-developed antioxidant-rich nutritional supplement, called NT-020, suggests the natural components of such foods — including vitamin D3 and amino acids, such as carnosine — can boost the brainpower of seniors and potentially slow or prevent memory loss and other mental deficiencies associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
To test the supplement's effectiveness, the USF researchers tracked 105 healthy adults, ages 65 to 85, over two months. The results showed that the 52 volunteers who received NT-020 experienced demonstrated improvements in cognitive processing speed, while the 53 volunteers randomized to receive an inactive placebo did not.
Reduced cognitive processing speed, which can slow thinking and learning, has been associated with advancing age, the researchers said.
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The study, published in the journal Rejuvenation Research, built on prior research involving laboratory rats that found NT-20 boost memory and other cognitive skills in the animals.
"After two months, test results showed modest improvements in two measures of cognitive processing speed for those taking NT-020 — compared to those taking placebo," said Brent Small, a professor in USF's School of Aging Studies who helped conduct the study on the 105 seniors. "Processing speed is most often affected early on in the course of cognitive aging. Successful performance in processing tasks often underlies more complex cognitive outcomes, such as memory and verbal ability."
The researchers now plan to study whether people who take NT-20 for longer periods experience greater benefits.
The NT-020 formula — commercially available as NutraStem — was patented by the University of South Florida, in partnership with the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, and licensed to Natura Therapeutics Inc.
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