Something to Think About

Pilot Study Showed Concord Grape Juice Helped Improve Memory Measures in Older Adult

CONCORD, Mass., February 1, 2010 - In addition to the decade's worth of cardiovascular research on Concord grape juice, a recent pilot study showed that consuming Concord grape juice improved memory measures in a group of older adults.1

Cognitive Decline

Although forgetfulness is associated with normal aging, it can also be a sign of one of many cognitive impairments.1,2,3 According to Krikorian et al., "Regulation of inflammation generally is reduced with aging, and accelerated inflammation is implicated in [certain] neurodegenerative disorders…."Concord grapes contain polyphenols, plant nutrients which have anti-inflammatory properties.4This reduction in inflammation is thought to be one potential mechanism leading to the beneficial effect on cognitive function in older adults.1,5

Concord Grape Juice and Cognitive Health

In a study published by the British Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Robert Krikorian showed that drinking Concord grape juice promoted memory function in a group of older adults with early memory decline. Twelve participants, with an average age of 78.2 (+ 5 years), were enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study in which they consumed Concord grape juice or a grape-flavored drink (the placebo) daily. Specifically, the study showed that the five adults consuming Concord grape juice for 12 weeks experienced a significant improvement in list learning and trends suggested improvements in two additional memory measures (verbal recall and spatial memory) relative to those consuming the placebo.1

Although it is too early to draw any conclusions about the effect of Concord grape juice on memory, this study is an exciting addition to the existing body of research on Concord grape juice and cardiovascular health that has been developed over more than a decade.4,6-14

Expert Opinion

Dr. Krikorian commented, "Our preliminary findings suggest that supplementing the diet with Concord grape juice may provide benefit for older adults with early memory changes."

  1. Krikorian R, Nash T A, Shidler M D, Shukitt-Hale B and Joseph J A. Concord grape juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Br J Nutr 2010, 103: 730-734.
  2. Crook TH, Bartus RT, Ferris SH, Whitehouse, P, Cohen G.D. and Gershon S. Age-associated memory impairment: proposed diagnostic criteria and measures of clinical change. Dev Neuropsychol. 1986. 2:261–276.
  3. Neilsen H, Lolk A and Kragh-Sorensen P. Age-associated memory impairment – pathological memory decline or normal aging? Scand J Psychol. 1998. 39:33–37.
  4. Albers AR, Varghese S, Vitseva O, Vita JA and Freedman JE. The antiinflammatory effects of purple grape juice consumption in subjects with stable coronary artery disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004. 24(11):e179-180.
  5. Shukitt-Hale B, Lau FC and Joseph JA (2008) Berry fruit supplementation and the aging brain. J Agric Food Chem 56,636–641.
  6. Anselm E, Chataigneau M, Ndiaye M, Chataigneau T and Schini-Kerth VB. Grape juice causes endothelium-dependent relaxation via a redox-sensitive Src- and Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. Cardiovasc Res. 2007. 73(2):404-413.
  7. Chou EJ, Keevil JG, Aeschlimann S, Wiebe DA, Folts JD and Stein JH. Effect of ingestion of purple grape juice on endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2001.88(5):553-555.
  8. Fitzpatrick DF, Hirschfield SL and Coffey RG. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxing activity of wine and other grape products. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 1993. 265(2):H774-H778.
  9. Freedman JE, Parker C, 3rd, Li L, Perlman JA, Frei B, Ivanov V, Deak LR, Iafrati MD and Folts JD. Select flavonoids and whole juice from purple grapes inhibit platelet function and enhance nitric oxide release. Circulation. 2001. 103(23):2792-2798.
  10. Keevil JG, Osman HE, Reed JD and Folts JD. Grape juice, but not orange juice or grapefruit juice, inhibits human platelet aggregation. J Nutr. 2000. 130(1):53-56.
  11. O'Byrne DJ, Devaraj S, Grundy SM and Jialal I. Comparison of the antioxidant effects of Concord grape juice flavonoids alpha-tocopherol on markers of oxidative stress in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002. 76(6):1367-1374.
  12. Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S and Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999. 100(10):1050-1055.
  13. Vinson JA, Yang J, Proch J and Liang X. Grape juice, but not orange juice, has in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo antioxidant properties. J Med Food. 2000. 3(4):167-171.
  14. Vislocky LM and Fernandez MLF. Biomedical Effects of Grape Products. Nutrition Reviews. 2010. 68(11): 656-670.