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Open AccessReview

A Review of the Cognitive Effects Observed in Humans Following Acute Supplementation with Flavonoids, and Their Associated Mechanisms of Action

School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Earley Gate, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2015, 7(12), 10290-10306;
Received: 22 September 2015 / Revised: 13 November 2015 / Accepted: 1 December 2015 / Published: 9 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in varying concentrations in many plant-based foods. Recent studies suggest that flavonoids can be beneficial to both cognitive and physiological health. Long term flavonoid supplementation over a period of weeks or months has been extensively investigated and reviewed, particularly with respect to cognitive ageing and neurodegenerative disease. Significantly less focus has been directed towards the short term effects of single doses of flavonoids on cognition. Here, we review 21 such studies with particular emphasis on the subclass and dose of flavonoids administered, the cognitive domains affected by flavonoid supplementation, and the effect size of the response. The emerging evidence suggests that flavonoids may be beneficial to attention, working memory, and psychomotor processing speed in a general population. Episodic memory effects are less well defined and may be restricted to child or older adult populations. The evidence also points towards a dose-dependent effect of flavonoids, but the physiological mechanisms of action remain unclear. Overall, there is encouraging evidence that flavonoid supplementation can benefit cognitive outcomes within an acute time frame of 0–6 h. But larger studies, combining cognitive and physiological measures, are needed to strengthen the evidence base. View Full-Text
Keywords: flavonoid; polyphenol; cognition; effect size; mechanism flavonoid; polyphenol; cognition; effect size; mechanism
MDPI and ACS Style

Bell, L.; Lamport, D.J.; Butler, L.T.; Williams, C.M. A Review of the Cognitive Effects Observed in Humans Following Acute Supplementation with Flavonoids, and Their Associated Mechanisms of Action. Nutrients 2015, 7, 10290-10306.

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