Two recent studies offer new data about the benefits of natural compounds on cognitive health.

First, researchers from Enzymotec, Tel Aviv University Medical School and Maccabi Health Services conducted a 15-week study that included 157 individuals with memory complaints, but without dementia. One group took 300 mg/day of phosphatidlyserine–DHA (PS-DHA) or a placebo. After the trial, 122 people agreed to also participate in an extension study in which everyone took 100 mg/day of PS–DHA. After undergoing various computerized assessments of memory, those continuing PS–DHA supplements maintained their cognitive status. Those who first took the placebo and then were given the supplement showed “significant improvement in sustained attention and memory recognition.” These data are published in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.

In the second study, contract research firm Biofortis examined the use of Kemin’s patent-pending spearmint extract containing a phenolic complex, K110-42, to improve cognitive health and performance in older adults.

The clinical study assessed both the ingredient’s tolerability as well as its effects on cognition in participants. Tolerance was determined by evaluation of gastrointestinal (GI) tolerability, adverse events and clinical laboratory tests at both a baseline and end of treatment. Acute and chronic cognitive effects were evaluated using validated computerized testing models at multiple time points.

After supplementation for 30 days, subjects had improvements not only in subjective memory scores, but also in computer cognitive tests that are designed to measure reasoning, attention and planning. In addition, researchers saw acute benefits on the first day of supplementation, where there was statistically significant improvement in regards to attention, concentration and planning scores at two and four hours post-dose, compared to pre-dose. Participants did not experience any GI issues or adverse events related to the product. The study’s results were presented at a poster session sponsored by the American Society for Nutrition’s Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology in San Diego, CA.

Linda Fullmer, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the human nutrition and health division of the company, expressed her excitement about the study’s results. She stated, “These findings are promising in that they suggest our patent-pending ingredient may help to improve memory, and offer immediate as well as longer-term benefits for cognitive performance.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2014