Brain Boost: Daily Fiber Supplement Improves Senior Cognition in Just 12 Weeks

Supplement Capsule

A new research study found that daily fiber supplements can improve brain function in individuals over 60 in just 12 weeks, offering a cost-effective way to potentially counter early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Daily fiber supplements enhance brain function in seniors without affecting muscle strength, promising a simple dietary addition to combat early Alzheimer’s signs.

A daily fiber supplement improved brain function in over 60s in just 12 weeks.

The study, published recently in Nature Communications by researchers from the School of Life Course & Population Sciences at King’s College London showed that this simple and cheap addition to diet can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the prebiotic supplements inulin and FOS were found to have no effect on muscle strength over this period.

“We are excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks. This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our ageing population. Unlocking the secrets of the gut-brain axis could offer new approaches for living more healthily for longer.”

First author Dr. Mary Ni Lochlainn, from the Department of Twin Research

As populations age globally, the prevalence of age-related conditions such as cognitive decline and muscle loss is on the rise. Researchers at TwinsUK, the UK’s largest adult twin registry based at King’s College London, sought to understand how targeting the microbiota, the diverse community of microorganisms residing in our intestines, using two cheap, commercially available plant fiber supplements inulin and FOS, could impact both muscle health and brain function.

Researchers assigned 36 twin pairs – 72 individuals – over 60 years old to receive either a placebo or the supplement every day for 12 weeks. Neither the analysis team, nor the participants knew which they received until the analysis was complete (double-blind). Alongside this, all study participants did resistance exercises and ate a protein supplement which was aimed at improving muscle function.

Researchers monitored participants remotely via video, online questionnaires, and cognitive tests. They found the fiber supplement led to significant changes in the participants’ gut microbiome composition, particularly an increase in the numbers of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium.

While there was no significant difference in muscle strength between the groups, the group receiving the fiber supplement performed better in tests assessing brain function, including the Paired Associates Learning test which is an early marker for Alzheimer’s disease, together with tests of reaction time and processing speed. These measures are important for daily living – for example, reacting to traffic or stopping a simple trip-up turning into a fall.

“These plant fibres, which are cheap and available over-the counter, could benefit a wide group of people in these cash-strapped times. They are safe and acceptable too. Our next task is to see whether these effects are sustained over longer periods and in larger groups of people.”

Senior author Professor Claire Steves, Professor of Ageing and Health

Another novel aspect of the study was its remote design which demonstrated the feasibility of conducting trials in older adults without the need for extensive travel or hospital visits, which could be delivered in many settings globally. Challenges such as digital literacy and access to the necessary technology were acknowledged and will be addressed in future larger-scale projects with the aim of enhancing the quality of life for aging populations worldwide.

Reference: “Effect of gut microbiome modulation on muscle function and cognition: the PROMOTe randomised controlled trial” by Mary Ni Lochlainn, Ruth C. E. Bowyer, Janne Marie Moll, María Paz García, Samuel Wadge, Andrei-Florin Baleanu, Ayrun Nessa, Alyce Sheedy, Gulsah Akdag, Deborah Hart, Giulia Raffaele, Paul T. Seed, Caroline Murphy, Stephen D. R. Harridge, Ailsa A. Welch, Carolyn Greig, Kevin Whelan and Claire J. Steves, 29 February 2024, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-46116-y

This study was supported by King’s Centre for Ageing Resilience in a Changing Environment (CARICE) and by grants from the National Institute of Health Research and Wellcome Trust

12 Comments on "Brain Boost: Daily Fiber Supplement Improves Senior Cognition in Just 12 Weeks"

  1. Okay, what was the Fiber supplement? It never says.

  2. “the prebiotic supplements inulin and FOS”

  3. They also didn’t report on how much fiber was used.

  4. Please name several fiber supplements available in stores.

  5. Maddy February | March 5, 2024 at 8:06 am | Reply

    Tell me supplements in South Africa.Im 65 years.Thanks.

  6. Want to know what was the fibre supplements name please

  7. Dosages ?

  8. Inulin & FOS can be bought at supplement stores and of course Amazon. I do wish they stated how much to take though.

  9. Hello name of the supplement please. Is the product available in South Africa.

  10. Apocatastasia | March 6, 2024 at 6:42 am | Reply

    Inulin is taken from Jerusalem artichokes, a sunflower relative; you eat the tubers. i grow it myself, and it’s very easy, like a weed. Perennial, too, so try it. FOS probably has to be bought.

  11. Is that what they’re stuffing Sleepy Joe with?

  12. The name of the cap.
    The price.. Please.
    Were we can get the cap.

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