Rakic, J.M., J. Tanprasertsuk, T.M. Scott, H.M. Rasmussen, E.S. Mohn, C.-Y.O. Chen, E.J. Johnson, 2021. Effects of daily almond consumption for six months on cognitive measures in healthy middle-aged to older adults: a randomized control trial. Nutr Neurosci. 1-11. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2020.1868805.
Background: Age-related cognitive decline is a major public health issue. Almonds are rich in nutrients that benefit cognitive function. Objective: To investigate the impact of almonds on cognition in elderly adults. Design: In a six-month, single-blinded, randomized-controlled trial, the effects of an almond intervention on cognition in healthy, middle-aged/older adults (50-75 years) was tested. Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: 1.5 oz/d almond (n = 19), 3 oz/d almond (n = 24), or 3.5 oz/d snack (control, matched for macronutrients in 3.0 oz almonds, (n = 17). Serum analyses for tocopherols, oxidative status and inflammation, and cognition were assessed at baseline (M0), three (M3), and six (M6) months. Results: At M6, serum alpha-tocopherol concentrations increased by 8% from M0 (p < 0.05) in the 3 oz almond group but did not increase in the other groups. Serum markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were not significantly different throughout the study among the groups. There was no difference in change over time in cognitive tests among the groups. However, there was a significant improvement in visuospatial working memory (p = 0.023), visual memory and learning (p = 0.017), and spatial planning and working memory (p < 0.001) in subjects receiving 3 oz/d almonds at M6, while the snack group showed no improvement. Conclusions: Almonds did not significantly improve cognitive function in cognitively intact middle-aged/older adults over six months. However, a significant improvement at M6 in cognitive measures was observed with 3 oz/d almonds. While these results are encouraging, a study of longer duration in subjects at risk for age-related cognitive decline is warranted.