Novel treatment strategies for cognitive dysfunctions may prevent long-term disability in patients with schizophrenia, and polyphenolic compounds might be a promising strategy. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), a citrus fruit characterized by a high amount of flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides, may represent a potential nutraceutical approach to cognitive dysfunction. The present study was aimed to explore the efficacy of bergamot polyphenolic fraction (BPF) supplementation on cognitive/executive functioning in a sample of patients with schizophrenia receiving second-generation antipsychotics.
Twenty outpatients treated with second-generation antipsychotics assumed BPF at an oral daily dose of 1000 mg/d for 8 weeks. Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Verbal Fluency Task-Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and Stroop Color-Word Test were administered.
At end point, (week 8) BPF supplementation significantly improved WCST “perseverative errors” (P = 0.004) and semantic fluency test (P = 0.004). Moreover, a trend for other cognitive variable (WCST “categories,” phonemic fluency, and Stroop Color-Word Test) improvement was observed.
The findings provide evidence that BPF administration may be proposed as a potential supplementation strategy to improve cognitive outcome in schizophrenia. Further clinical trials with adequately powered and well-designed methodology are needed to better explore the BPF effectiveness on cognitive impairments in patients with schizophrenia.