Researchers at the University of North Carolina have presented a study at July’s American Society for Nutrition conference, suggesting that a particular probiotic may help mild cognitive impairment, and cognitive performance more generally.
They devised a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial in which 169 middle-aged (aged 52 to 59) and older (60 to 75) adults were enrolled. At the start of the trial, participants were assessed as either having normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment, and samples of their gut microbiome were taken. They were then randomised to receive either probiotics or placebo for three months. The probiotic used was Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG).
Analysis showed that participants with mild cognitive impairment, had significantly higher levels of Prevotella bacteria at outset. Those subjects who then took LGG were found after three months to exhibit reduced Prevotella populations, and this correlated with improved cognitive function. The researchers conclude that the gut microbiome profile may in future be used as an early indicator of mild cognitive impairment, and that it may be manipulated to improve cognitive performance.
(The Gut Microbiome, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Probiotics: a Randomized Clinical Trial in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Nutrition 2023, American Society for Nutrition, Boston, July 2023.)