Effect of Polyphenol Supplementation on Memory Functioning in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sara Farag, Catherine Tsang, Emad A. S. Al-Dujaili*, Philip N. Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Negative health consequences of obesity include impaired neuronal functioning and cell death, thus bringing the risk of impaired cognitive functioning. Antioxidant properties of polyphenols offer a possible intervention for overweight people, but evidence for their effectiveness in supporting cognitive functioning is mixed. This review examined evidence from randomized controlled trials concerning the effect of polyphenols on tasks requiring either immediate or delayed retrieval of learned information, respectively, thus controlling for differences in cognitive processes and related neural substrates supporting respective task demands. Searches of the PubMed/Medline, PsycInfo, and Scopus databases identified 24 relevant primary studies with N = 2336 participants having a BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2. The participants’ mean age for the 24 studies exceeded 60 years. Respective meta-analyses produced a significant summary effect for immediate retrieval but not for delayed retrieval. The present findings support a potential positive effect of chronic supplementation with polyphenols, most notably flavonoids, on immediate retrieval in participants aged over 60 years with obesity being a risk factor for cognitive impairment. We recommend further investigation of this potential positive effect in participants with such risk factors. Future research on all populations should report the phenolic content of the supplementation administered and be specific regarding the cognitive processes tested.
Original languageEnglish
Article number474
Number of pages26
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2024

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