Probiotic supplementation, resistance training improves cognitive function in elderly
The combination of probiotic bifidobacteria supplementation and resistance training may improve cognitive function in healthy elderly individuals, according to a recent study.
This double-blind trial involved 38 healthy elderly participants (mean age 70.3 years, 63.2 percent female, mean BMI 23.5 kg/m2) who were randomized to receive a probiotic bifidobacteria supplement (n=20) comprising a powder form of B. longum BB536, B. infantis M-63, and B. breve M-16V and B-3 at approximately 1.25×1010 cfu each, or placebo (n=18) daily in addition to moderate resistance training for 12 weeks. The Japanese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA-J) was used to assess cognitive function, and a modified flanker task was performed to analyse the changes in response accuracy and reaction time. [Benef Microbes 2018;10:1-12]
At 12 weeks, both probiotic and placebo groups showed an improvement in cognitive function, demonstrated by a significant increase in MoCA-J scores from baseline (mean score, from 23.5 to 25.8; p<0.001 [probiotic group] and from 23.9 to 25.8; p<0.01 [placebo group]).
Improvement in the number of correct responses and reaction time were more commonly observed in the probiotic group than the placebo group, as shown by significantly increased flanker scores at 12 weeks (0.35 vs -0.29; p=0.056).
A significant reduction in depressive-anxiety symptoms was only observed in the probiotic group, as reflected by a reduction in depression-anxiety scores at 12 weeks (from 5.2 to 3.4; p=0.012).
The findings were consistent with a previous study which revealed that probiotics may ameliorate mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, said the researchers. [Nat Rev Neurosci 2012;13:701-712]
“In addition, recent research suggests that probiotics may alter the brain function and exert a beneficial effect for psychiatric and neurological diseases,” the researchers said. [Front Microbiol 2016;7:345; Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2017;17:94]
“We hypothesized that physical exercise and intestinal microbiota interacted with each other and manifested an additional or a synergistic effect when physical exercise and probiotics were combined,” they noted.“Both exercise and probiotics were reported to affect brain activity, body composition, and gastrointestinal condition, and these parameters are reported to be closely associated and influenced by each other,” the researchers said, recommending a larger study to further investigate the impact of Bifidobacterium on cognitive function of elderly individuals.