Cluck crosswords, chicken makes you sharper

Research suggests a new chicken ingredient may improve cognition.

The chicken may be able to help you remember why you crossed the road. A new Malaysian study revealed cognition-enhancing properties of a recently developed chicken meat ingredient. The research was published in Nutrition Journal.

Why look to chicken for the keys to enhancing brain health? According to the article, anecdotal evidence has long associated an extract of chicken meat called essence of chicken (EOC) with improved cognitive performance, “especially related to learning and memory as well as executive function.” While the name evokes Dementors tearing the soul from poultry, essence of chicken, which is actually and aqueous solution removed in a lab, is well-studied. “Published research over the last decade has lent significant support to its benefits in cognitive performance, particularly in the area of working memory, attention and episodic memory,” write the authors.

The existing research inspired the scientists to try to identify potential bioactives that could help our brains. They developed chicken meat ingredient-168 (CMI-168). In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, researchers gave subjects two tablets of CMI-168 daily for six weeks, to see whether it improved cognitive function. They analyzed subjects' cognition with a series of cognitive tests at the beginning and end of supplementation, as well as two weeks after termination of supplementation.

They found that chicken ingredient did indeed help with cognition. According to the article, subjects showed “significantly better performance in all cognitive tests after 6 weeks’ supplementation compared to control and such superior performance was maintained even 2 weeks after termination of supplementation.”

The articles' authors did not respond to inquiries by press time as to whether CMI-168 is currently available in the U.S. DHA, however, is. Recent research suggests that that stuff helps improve early cognitive impairment.

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