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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #352558

Research Project: Nutrients, Aging, and Musculoskeletal Function

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: prospective study

Author
item Morris, Martha Clare - Rush University Medical Center
item Wang, Yamin - Rush University Medical Center
item Barnes, Lisa - Rush University Medical Center
item Bennett, David - Rush University Medical Center
item Dawson-hughes, Bess - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Booth, Sarah - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Neurology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2017
Publication Date: 12/20/2017
Citation: Morris, M., Wang, Y., Barnes, L.L., Bennett, D.A., Dawson-Hughes, B., Booth, S.L. 2017. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: prospective study. Neurology. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815

Interpretive Summary: Intake of green leafy vegetables has been associated with reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline. To increase understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying this association, we investigated the individual relations to cognitive decline of the primary nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables, including vitamin K (phylloquinone), vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene), folate, nitrate, and kaempferol. Over a period of about five years, a total of 960 participants of the Memory and Aging Project, who ranged in age from 58-99 years, completed a food frequency questionnaire to evaluate usual dietary intakes and had at least two cognitive assessments made by qualified personnel. The reported consumption of green leafy vegetables was associated with slower cognitive decline. Specifically, those reporting on average a daily intake of more than one serving of green, leafy vegetables had less cognitive decline that was the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age compared to those individuals who did not report consumption of green, leafy vegetables. Higher intakes of each of the nutrients and bioactives except beta-carotene were individually associated with slower cognitive decline. In conclusion, consumption of approximately one serving per day of green leafy vegetables and foods rich in phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, folate, alpha-tocopherol, and kaempferol may help to slow cognitive decline with aging.

Technical Abstract: Objective: To increase understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying this association, we investigated the individual relations to cognitive decline of the primary nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables, including vitamin K (phylloquinone), lutein, beta-carotene, nitrate, folate, kaempferol, and alpha-tocopherol. Methods: Prospective study of 960 participants of the Memory and Aging Project, ages 58-99 years who completed a food frequency questionnaire and had >/= 2 cognitive assessments over a mean 4.7 years. Results: In a linear mixed model adjusted for age, sex, education, participation in cognitive activities, physical activities, smoking, seafood and alcohol consumption, consumption of green leafy vegetables was associated with slower cognitive decline; the decline rate for those in the highest quintile of intake (median 1.3 servings/d) was slower by beta=0.05 standardized units (p=0.0001) or the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age. Higher intakes of each of the nutrients and bioactives except beta-carotene were individually associated with slower cognitive decline. In the adjusted models, the rates for the highest versus the lowest quintiles of intake were beta=0.02, p=0.002 for phylloquinone; beta=0.04, p=0.002 for lutein; beta=0.05, p<0.001 for folate; beta=0.03, p=0.02 for alpha-tocopherol; beta=0.04, p=0.002 for nitrate; beta=0.04, p=0.003 for kaempferol; and beta=0.02, p=0.08 for beta-carotene. Conclusion: Consumption of approximately 1 serving per day of green leafy vegetables and foods rich in phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, folate, alpha-tocopherol, and kaempferol may help to slow cognitive decline with aging.