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Daily Fiber Supplement May Improve Brain Function In 12 Weeks

4 months, 3 weeks ago

6318  0
Posted on Mar 04, 2024, 7 p.m.

A daily fiber supplement improved brain function in adults in just 12 weeks according to a study published in Nature Communications from the School of Life Course & Population Sciences showing that this cheap addition to a daily routine can help to improve the performance in memory tests that are associated with early signs of developing Alzheimer's disease. 

“We are excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks. This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our ageing population. Unlocking the secrets of the gut-brain axis could offer new approaches for living more healthily for longer,” said the first author Dr Mary Ni Lochlainn, from the Department of Twin Research.

The researchers at TwinsUK registry based at King’s College London sought to investigate how targeting gut microbiota using two cheap and commercially available plant fiber supplements (inulin and FOS) could impact muscle health and brain function. For the double-blind study, 36 pairs of twins over the age of 60 years old received either a daily supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks alongside resistance exercise and protein supplements aimed to improve muscle function. Participants were monitored remotely via video, questionnaires, and cognitive testing. 

According to the researchers, the fiber supplement led to significant changes in gut microbiome composition, specifically increases in the numbers of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium. However, the prebiotic supplements inulin and FOS had no effect on muscle strength. While there were no significant muscle strength differences those in the supplement group performed better in brain function testing, including on the Paired Associate Learning test which is an early marker for Alzheimer’s disease, together with tests of reaction time and processing speeds. 

“These plant fibres, which are cheap and available over-the-counter, could benefit a wide group of people in these cash-strapped times. They are safe and acceptable too. Our next task is to see whether these effects are sustained over longer periods and in larger groups of people,” said the senior author Professor Claire Steves, Professor of Ageing and Health.

Additionally, the remote design of the study demonstrated the feasibility of conducting trials in older adults with the need for travel or hospital visits, opening the settings and conditions of delivery to more options globally. The researchers acknowledge challenges such as digital literacy and access to required technology will need to be addressed for future larger-scale projects with the aim of enhancing the quality of life for aging populations around the globe. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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