Pomegranate juice may confer memory benefits in adults
Drinking pomegranate juice daily appears to have memory effects in middle-aged and older adults by stabilizing the capacity to absorb visual information over a 12-month period, suggests a study.
“Antioxidant nutrients such as the polyphenols in pomegranate juice may prevent neuronal damage from the free radicals produced during normal metabolism,” the investigators said.
This 12-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 261 participants aged 50–75 years, who were randomly assigned to consume either pomegranate juice (n=126; 236.5 mL/day) or a placebo drink (n=135; 236.5 mL, matched constituents of pomegranate juice except for pomegranate polyphenols).
The investigators used a mixed-effects general linear model to assess (at 6 and 12 months) and analyse memory measures (Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised [BVMT-R] and Buschke Selective Reminding Test [SRT]).
Twenty-eight participants in the pomegranate juice group and 33 in the placebo group dropped out of the trial prior to study completion. No significant difference was observed in baseline variable in the 98 pomegranate juice and 102 placebo group participants who completed the study.
There was a statistically significant group-by-time interaction for BVMT-R Learning (F[2, 257], 5.90; p=0.003; between-group effect size [ES], 0.45). No significant change was seen within the pomegranate juice group (ES, 0.15), whereas a significant decline was observed in the placebo group (ES, –0.35).
No significant between-group difference was noted in changes in the other BVMT-R scores as well as the SRT measures.
“Previous research in animals and a short-term clinical trial in middle-aged and older adults support the potential memory benefits of pomegranate juice,” the investigators said. “[H]owever, the long-term effects of pomegranate juice consumption on cognition have not been studied.”