Nutritional supplementation boosts aerobic exercise effects on functional brain systems

Michelle W. Voss, Matthew Sutterer, Timothy B. Weng, Agnieszka Z. Burzynska, Jason Fanning, Elizabeth Salerno, Neha P. Gothe, Diane K. Ehlers, Edward McAuley, Arthur F. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


There is growing evidence that aerobic exercise protects against age-related cognitive decline and that cardiorespiratory fitness is an important factor for these benefits. Studies also suggest that combining physical activity with cognitive enrichment is beneficial. We further examine these predictions by comparing effects of a nutritional supplement promoting exercise capacity to a lower-intensity activity with cognitive enrichment on functional network and cognitive outcomes that otherwise decline with aging. Inactive healthy older adults were randomized to one of four groups including a low-intensity activity with complex cognitive demands (dancing), walking, walkingsupplement, or an active control. Results showed that walkingsupplement increased salience network functional connectivity (FC), with less training benefit for default mode network FC. Although cognitive performance did not increase for any training group, participants in the walkingsupplement group who were on medication that boosted key neurotransmitters (e.g., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) showed improved processing speed. Overall, this study provides new insight into how to boost the protective effects of exercise on brain systems that otherwise deteriorate with aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Aging
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Default mode network
  • Functional connectivity
  • Physical activity
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Salience network


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutritional supplementation boosts aerobic exercise effects on functional brain systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this