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Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction Supplementation Improves Cognitive Functioning in Schizophrenia

Data From an 8-Week, Open-Label Pilot Study

Bruno, Antonio MD, PhD; Pandolfo, Gianluca MD, PhD; Crucitti, Manuela MD; Cedro, Clemente MD, PhD; Zoccali, Rocco Antonio MD; Muscatello, Maria Rosaria Anna MD, PhD

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: August 2017 - Volume 37 - Issue 4 - p 468–471
doi: 10.1097/JCP.0000000000000730
Brief Reports

Background 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.

Methods 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.

Results 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.

Conclusions 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.

From the Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.

Received February 2, 2017; accepted after revision April 12, 2017.

Reprints: Antonio Bruno, MD, PhD, Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging, Polyclinic Hospital University, Via Consolare Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy (e-mail:,

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