Resveratrol and Soy Isoflavones Affect Cognitive Function in Older Adults

A systematic review of the medical literature published in September 2017 indicates resveratrol and soy isoflavones enhance cognitive function in postmenopausal women. Resveratrol also exhibits cognitive-enhancing effects in older men. 

In this review, scientists assessed the impact of supplementation with resveratrol or isoflavones from soy or red clover on cognitive function in postmenopausal women. The analysis included 23 randomized controlled trials. Fifteen of the studies used isoflavones and 8 investigated the effects of resveratrol or grape formulations standardized for resveratrol content. 

In 6 of the soy isoflavone studies, beneficial effects on cognition were observed. The most pronounced effects were noted in women who had undergone menopause less than 10 years prior and who ingested the isoflavones for 6 months or less (the authors theorized longer-term studies may have been compromised by attrition and/or loss of compliance). Four of the resveratrol studies observed small-to-medium improvements in cognitive function in older adults of mixed gender and in postmenopausal women supplemented with 150 to 200 mg/day of resveratrol for at least 14 weeks. The cognitive benefits of resveratrol were attributed to improved cerebral perfusion. In 3 studies that assessed the use of red clover isoflavones or grape formulations, no benefits were observed. 

The reviewers concluded that supplementation with either soy isoflavones or resveratrol may improve executive function and memory domains of cognitively normal older adults.

Thaung Zaw JJ, et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017;1403:150-63.

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