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Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation on Aortic Stiffness, Cerebral Blood Flow, and Cognitive Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Findings from the ANCHORS A-WHEY Clinical Trial

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
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Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041054
Received: 20 March 2020 / Revised: 7 April 2020 / Accepted: 8 April 2020 / Published: 10 April 2020
ANCHORS A-WHEY was a 12-week randomized controlled trial (RCT) designed to examine the effect of whey protein on large artery stiffness, cerebrovascular responses to cognitive activity and cognitive function in older adults. Methods: 99 older adults (mean ± SD; age 67 ± 6 years, BMI 27.2 ± 4.7kg/m2, 45% female) were randomly assigned to 50g/daily of whey protein isolate (WPI) or an iso-caloric carbohydrate (CHO) control for 12 weeks (NCT01956994). Aortic stiffness was determined as carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV). Aortic hemodynamic load was assessed as the product of aortic systolic blood pressure and heart rate (Ao SBP × HR). Cerebrovascular response to cognitive activity was assessed as change in middle-cerebral artery (MCA) blood velocity pulsatility index (PI) during a cognitive perturbation (Stroop task). Cognitive function was assessed using a computerized neurocognitive battery. Results: cfPWV increased slightly in CHO and significantly decreased in WPI (p < 0.05). Ao SBP × HR was unaltered in CHO but decreased significantly in WPI (p < 0.05). Although emotion recognition selectively improved with WPI (p < 0.05), WPI had no effect on other domains of cognitive function or MCA PI response to cognitive activity (p > 0.05 for all). Conclusions: Compared to CHO, WPI supplementation results in favorable reductions in aortic stiffness and aortic hemodynamic load with limited effects on cognitive function and cerebrovascular function in community-dwelling older adults. View Full-Text
Keywords: vascular stiffness; blood pressure; whey protein isolate; older adults vascular stiffness; blood pressure; whey protein isolate; older adults
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Lefferts, W.K.; Augustine, J.A.; Spartano, N.L.; Hughes, W.E.; Babcock, M.C.; Heenan, B.K.; Heffernan, K.S. Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation on Aortic Stiffness, Cerebral Blood Flow, and Cognitive Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Findings from the ANCHORS A-WHEY Clinical Trial. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1054.

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