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Open AccessArticle

Acute Post-Prandial Cognitive Effects of Brown Seaweed Extract in Humans

Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
innoVactiv Inc., Rimouski, QC G5L 9H3, Canada
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M4G 4J6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(1), 85;
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 6 December 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 13 January 2018
(Poly)phenols and, specifically, phlorotannins present in brown seaweeds have previously been shown to inhibit α-amylase and α-glucosidase, key enzymes involved in the breakdown and intestinal absorption of carbohydrates. Related to this are observations of modulation of post-prandial glycemic response in mice and increased insulin sensitivity in humans when supplemented with seaweed extract. However, no studies to date have explored the effect of seaweed extract on cognition. The current randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel groups study examined the impact of a brown seaweed extract on cognitive function post-prandially in 60 healthy adults (N = 30 per group). Computerized measures of episodic memory, attention and subjective state were completed at baseline and 5 times at 40 min intervals over a 3 h period following lunch, with either seaweed or placebo consumed 30 min prior to lunch. Analysis was conducted with linear mixed models controlling for baseline. Seaweed led to significant improvements to accuracy on digit vigilance (p = 0.035) and choice reaction time (p = 0.043) tasks. These findings provide the first evidence for modulation of cognition with seaweed extract. In order to explore the mechanism underlying these effects, future research should examine effects on cognition in parallel with blood glucose and insulin responses. View Full-Text
Keywords: seaweed; cognition; cognitive; mood; phlorotannin; phenolic; polyphenol; phytochemical seaweed; cognition; cognitive; mood; phlorotannin; phenolic; polyphenol; phytochemical
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Haskell-Ramsay, C.F.; Jackson, P.A.; Dodd, F.L.; Forster, J.S.; Bérubé, J.; Levinton, C.; Kennedy, D.O. Acute Post-Prandial Cognitive Effects of Brown Seaweed Extract in Humans. Nutrients 2018, 10, 85.

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