Daily fibre supplement improves older adults’ brain function in just 12 weeks

King’s College London – A study published recently in Nature Communications by researchers from the School of Life Course & Population Sciences showed that a simple and cheap fibre supplement can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

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

“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.”

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 fibre supplements inulin and FOS, could impact both muscle health and brain function.

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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 fibre 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 fibre supplement performed better in tests assessing brain function …


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