Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Effects of zinc supplementation on cognitive function in healthy older adults

A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled design was employed to investigate the effects of zinc (Zn) supplementation on cognitive function in 387 healthy adults aged 55-87 years. Several measures of visual memory, working memory, attention and processing speed were obtained using the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB) at baseline and then after 3 and 6 months of 0 (placebo), 15 or 30mg of Zn per day.

Younger adults (<70 years) performed significantly better on all tests than older adults (>70 years), and performance improved with practice on some measures. However, there was no clear evidence of interactions indicating any systematic effects of Zn supplementation for either dose in comparison with placebo and this was the case for both younger and older adults. It is concluded that, at least in this large sample of healthy older adults, Zn supplementation is neither beneficial nor detrimental to cognitive function.

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