Polyphenol supplementation and executive functioning in overweight and obese adults at risk of cognitive impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sara Farag*, Catherine Tsang, Philip N. Murphy*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background and objectives
Increasing evidence indicates a link between obesity and cognitive impairment. Furthermore, there is limited literature regarding the effect of polyphenols, a plant derived compounds, on executive functioning in an overweight/obese population at-risk of cognitive impairment. The aim of the present systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials is to examine the effect of polyphenol supplementation on executive functions in overweight and/or obese populations at risk of cognitive impairment.

A comprehensive literature search was conducted from inception to March 2023 using four electronic databases: PubMed/Medline, PsycInfo, Scopus and Cochrane trials library. Published primary research studies in English that compared the effect of polyphenols with placebo on executive function in overweight/obese adults were considered eligible for the meta-analysis. Jadad scale was used for the methodological quality rating of the included studies. Hedges g with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for endpoints were calculated using random effect model where applicable. Rosenthal’s Fail-safe N, funnel plots, the Begg and Mazumdar’s rank correlation test (Kendall’s S statistic P-Q), Egger’s linear regression test, and Duval and Tweedie’s trim-and-fill test were identified for potential use as appropriate, to examine publication bias. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to examine the robustness of the results.

Results and conclusion
A total of 23 RCT studies involving N = 1,976 participants were included in the review. The results of the meta-analysis revealed a non-significant effect for polyphenol supplementation on executive function (g = 0.076, CI = -0.018 to 0.170). Observations from primary studies within the meta-analysis showed a potential positive effect of polyphenol supplementation in a younger population at-risk of cognitive impairment and it is recommended to investigate this further in future studies. Moreover, the variability of the tasks used to examine executive functions as well as the adequate reporting of supplement’s phenolic composition is a limitation that future work should also consider.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0286143
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2023

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