Incremental Doses of Nitrate-Rich Beetroot Juice Do Not Modify Cognitive Function and Cerebral Blood Flow in Overweight and Obese Older Adults: A 13-Week Pilot Randomised Clinical Trial

Abrar M. Babateen, Oliver M. Shannon, Gerard M. O’Brien, Edward Okello, Ellen Smith, Dilara Olgacer, Christina Koehl, William Fostier, Emma Wightman, David Kennedy, John C. Mathers, Mario Siervo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Nitrate-rich food increases nitric oxide (NO) production and may have beneficial effects on vascular, metabolic, and brain function. This pilot study tested the effects of prolonged consumption of a range of doses of dietary nitrate (NO3−), provided as beetroot juice, on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in overweight and obese older participants. The study had a 13-week single-blind, randomised, parallel design, and 62 overweight and obese older participants (aged 60 to 75 years) received the following interventions: (1) high NO3− (2 × 70 mL beetroot juice/day) (2) medium NO3− (70 mL beetroot juice/day), (3) low NO3− (70 mL beetroot juice on alternate days), or (4) placebo (70 mL of NO3−-depleted beetroot juice on alternate days). Cognitive functions were assessed using the Computerised Mental Performance Assessment System (COMPASS) assessment battery. CBF, monitored by concentration changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin, was assessed in the frontal cortex using near-infrared spectroscopy. The findings of this pilot study showed that cognitive function and CBF were not affected by supplementation with NO3−-rich beetroot juice for 13 weeks, irrespective of the NO3− dose administered. These findings require confirmation in larger studies using more sophisticated imaging methods (i.e., MRI) to determine whether prolonged dietary NO3− supplementation influences brain function in older overweight people.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1052
Number of pages14
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2022

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